I wanted to provide you with a quick budget update.
At our last board meeting, Trustee's approved a budget plan for the 2018-19 school year that required no reduction in staff to balance the budget. The operating budget of about $3.3 billion will continue to support the TDSB’s commitment to equity, and the achievement and well-being of all students.
The balanced budget reflects the school-based staffing decisions for 2018-19 that were approved by the Board in March.
The Ministry of Education recently announced new investments in education for the 2018-19 school year, including special education, guidance supports in elementary, English as a Second Language and mental health workers. The Ministry also announced capital investments in School Condition Improvements and Greenhouse Gas Reduction as part of the funding release for 2018-19. The exact amounts are not known at this time. The Board will approve our capital budget shortly.
At the TDSB we are committed to aligning resources with strategic priorities like equity, inclusion and student well-being. The soon to be finalized, Multi-year Strategic Plan, will provide further direction to support these priorities and more for the next three to five school years.
Finally, as it is budget related, I wanted to bring to your attention the great work being done by Fix Our Schools and the Campaign for Public Education.
Fix Our Schools is a provincial advocacy group of parents, students, grandparents, teachers, principals, caretakers and voters who believe that every publicly funded school in Ontario ought to be a safe, healthy, well-maintained building that provides an environment conducive to learning and working. I share their belief that schools must be funded as a key component of our public infrastructure and that the $15.9-billion of disrepair in Ontario’s schools must be addressed immediately. The chronic underfunding of our public education system is not sustainable.
Their Pledge campaign has been gaining momentum in recent weeks and they are about to launch an advertising campaign to ensure this remains an election issue. My ask of you is to please spread the word by sharing their campaign on social media and asking our local MPP candidates to sign the pledge at www.fixourschools.ca and for you to sign the petition at www.petitionsTO.ca/fixourschools
Let's call upon the Government of Ontario and all MPP candidates to pledge to introduce a fundamentally new approach to funding public education across Ontario by 2019!