Ontario invests $736 million more in public schools for upcoming year

Jun 19 2020, 9:12 am

The Ontario government announced that it is investing $736 million more in public education for the 2020-21 school year, increasing the total to more than $25.5 billion.

On Friday, the government said that the funding, through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program, represents the largest investment in public education in Ontario’s history.

As a result, Ontario’s average per-pupil funding amount has reached $12,525, which is an increase of $250 over the previous year.

“We are investing more in our students to ensure they are safe, and well prepared to hit the books beginning in September,” Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, said.

“As we review all scenarios related to the COVID-19 outbreak, our government is supporting each and every school board in the province to ensure our students and educators have the resources available for a successful year.”

According to the province, all 72 district school boards in Ontario are projected to see an increase in their GSN allocations for the upcoming school year with the new $213 million student-centric Supports for Students Fund (SSF). This will support special education, mental health and well-being, language instruction, Indigenous education, and STEM programming.

“We are investing in new supports for marginalized and racialized students to give hope and confidence to their families that we will work to unlock their full potential and remove the barriers to their success,” said Lecce.

The Supports for Students Fund can also be used for additional critical staffing needs during the return to school in September, including hiring custodians and education assistants for students who need support.

The province also announced that in addition to the GSN, Ontario is providing funding for the Priorities and Partnerships Fund (PPF), which enables school boards and third-parties to undertake initiatives and provide critical resources for curricular, extra-curricular, and wrap-around supports.

In the upcoming school year, the PPF is projected to be over $300 million, funding approximately 150 initiatives to support students.

The latest investment from the Ministry of Education comes after teachers’ unions went on months-long strikes at the beginning of the year, to stop the government’s significant cuts to special education programs, which would have resulted in a $25 million loss.

Lecce is expected to provide an update on Ontario schools reopening in September today at 1 pm at Queen’s Park.