Province trumpets spending on new schools; encourages consolidations

Premier Kathleen Wynne, in St-Albert Oct. 13, 2016. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Nelson Zandbergen
Nation Valley News

TORONTO — The province will build 28 new schools and expand and renovate another 23 to support more than 21,000 students in 36 communities, the Ontario government declared today.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the expenditure of $474 million during a visit to a Toronto elementary school where funding will support an addition to accommodate 138 more students.

The move by the Wynne government to take credit for the construction of new schools and the expansion of others in higher growth areas of the province comes as school boards in Eastern Ontario look at shutting a slew of schools: The Upper Canada District School Board proposes the closure of 16 schools this spring, with a potential 13 afterward. The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario has also initiated a pupil accommodation review for the potential closure of up to four of its schools in the City of Cornwall.

“Investing in new and better schools, and improved learning environments,” says the Wynne government, “is part of the government’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.”

The governing Liberals point out that school boards across the province are slated to receive “more than $12 billion over 10 years to help build new schools in areas of high growth, improve the condition of existing schools and invest in projects to reduce surplus space through school consolidations.” This follows more than $2 billion in capital spending on 127 new schools and 133 additions and renovations since 2013.

Today’s press release makes no mention of the premier’s call for publicly funded secular and Catholic school boards to work together to address excess school capacity. In St-Albert on Oct. 13, Wynne told Nation Valley News that she encourages the coterminous boards to cooperate on solving the issue.


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