An Open Letter to the the Boards of Education and Peel Residents from My Colleagues and I

Published on May 18, 2019

Peel Region MPPs Deepak Anand, Rudy Cuzzetto, Natalia Kusendova, Kaleed Rasheed, Sheref Sabawy, Amarjot Sandhu, Prabmeet Sarkaria, and Nina Tangri released an open letter to our local Boards of Education and Peel Residents.

 

Dear Directors of Education, Trustees, and Peel Residents,

Last year, the people of Ontario gave us a clear mandate to protect what matters most – like healthcare 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.

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 enrolment 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 enrolment 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

 

Extra Notes:

Page 287 in the budget Protecting What Matters Most shows how we are spending approximately 30.757 billion while in 2018 the previous government spent only 28.958 billion.

Class sizes in Quebec are limited to 32, in BC it is 30, in Manitoba it is 35 and in Alberta, there is no cap but the target is 27.

Page 135 in the budget Protecting What Matters Most shows how we are spending $13 billion over the next ten years to build new schools and improve our existing ones.

Page 130 in the budget Protecting What Matters Most also indicates how we are restructuring the curriculum to include more STEM-related opportunities and learning such as financial literacy and coding to help bring our education to the 21st century.