An Open Letter on Education

Published on May 17, 2019

Today, the Peel PC Caucus released an Open Letter to Directors of Education, Trustees, and Peel Residents.

Last year, the people of Ontario gave us a clear mandate to protect what matters most – like health care and education – while restoring fiscal sustainability for the people of Ontario. Our education reform plan, Education that Works for You, includes measured and responsible changes, in line with this commitment.

Unfortunately, much of the information being shared with the public is premature, or simply not true. As PC MPPs from the Region of Peel, we wanted to write to you to provide the facts regarding our Government’s changes, and to assure you that we are acting with the best interests of our students in mind.

Our Government will be investing over $700 million more in education this year than the previous government did last year. It includes over $90 million more for special education (for a total of over $3 billion), and $92 million more for student transportation.

Source: 2019 Ontario Budget, Table 3.13

Let us be clear: we are not firing teachers. Layoff notices are an annual occurrence during the budget planning process, in line with deadlines established in local collective agreements. Staff are then recalled as funding and enrollment projections are analyzed by board administrators. Suggestions otherwise have caused grief and anxiety to both students and teachers.

Class sizes will not grow significantly. In fact, we are hiring additional elementary and French-language teachers to ensure our youngest students see no increase in class size. Students in grade 4-8 may see one extra student per class, and our mature high school students will see an increase to an average of 28 students per class, a move that brings us in line with other provinces.

Class size organization, course offerings, and staffing decisions have been, and will continue to be made by our local school boards, based on enrollment and student demand. However, we are providing school boards across Ontario over $1.6 billion this year to ensure that not a single teacher in Ontario loses their job due to our proposed changes on class sizes and e-learning.

We hope that our school boards provide greater clarity to families on their staffing and course offerings in the coming weeks, and we are committed to working together to ensure the local priorities and needs of our students are met, including through night school, summer school, and e-learning options.

We are also investing $1.4 billion this year to repair and renew schools across Ontario, and $13 billion over the next 10 years to build new schools in high-growth areas, and to improve our existing schools.

The Minister of Education’s Task Force on School Boards will also work to ensure that the funding provided goes to classrooms, not bureaucracy and administration. Every dollar spent in education needs to be focused on maximizing value for student achievement in the classroom.

As we progress towards the end of the school year, we look forward to working together to protect and enhance our public education system.

Sincerely,

Deepak Anand, MPP – Mississauga-Malton
Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP – Mississauga-Lakeshore
Natalia Kusendova, MPP – Mississauga-Centre
Kaleed Rasheed, MPP – Mississauga East-Cooksville
Sheref Sabawy, MPP – Mississauga-Erin Mills
Amarjot Sandhu, MPP – Brampton West
Prabmeet Sarkaria, MPP – Brampton South
Nina Tangri, MPP – Mississauga-Streetsville