TORONTO – (BUSINESS WIRE) – The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) responded to yesterday’s publication of the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) review, which analyzed the Ministry of Education’s spending plan from the 2021 Ontario Budget and 2021-2022 Expenditure Forecast, with Laura Walton, President of the CUPE Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU), offering the following comment:
Once again, we have proof that the Ford government is more committed to austerity than to properly funding education, but this time the proof comes from the Office of Financial Accountability of Ontario (FAO).
CUPE and the OSBCU have been saying for years that since this government was elected it has been restricting spending at the expense of students and this review shows exactly that:
The FAO predicts that school board spending will increase by an average of 2.3% per year through 2029-2030, but the government is only forecasting an average increase of 1.2% per year. The total shortfall over the period 2021-2022-2029-30 will be $ 12.3 billion.
Even the FAO recognizes that this kind of deficit forces the government to spend more or to reduce its spending. And we know this government will cut spending every time, unless there is a public outcry to push it back.
Only $ 623 million of the $ 1.6 billion in COVID-related funding this year comes from the Department of Education; the remainder comes from other ministries (acquisition of PPE, etc.) and from council reserves. Once again, the department overestimates its own expenses.
Perhaps most infuriating is the final tally of transfer payments to parents during the pandemic: $ 1.848 billion. That’s more than the government has provided COVID-related funding for schools! It is heartbreaking and maddening to think of the massive improvements this money could have made in the lives of students and workers over the past year. It would certainly have helped a lot in preventing schools from becoming such a major source of the spread of COVID, as the Prime Minister has said.
MU: gb / cope491