NEWS RELEASE

OCSTA Welcomes Government’s Continued Focus on Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TORONTO, March 26—“The $315 million increase in education funding for 2008-09 is a clear recognition of education as a continuing provincial priority,” said Bernard Murray, president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA).

A number of initiatives included in the March 25 budget announcement will have positive impact on student achievement, health and safety. Additional funding for safe schools initiatives, student nutrition programs, at-risk students, parenting programs, school libraries and environmental education will help to support positive outcomes in our schools.

OCSTA is pleased to acknowledge the province’s additional investments in support of boards’ capital programs. Extension of the Good Places to Learn initiative, recommended by the Association, as well as new funding to support Growth and Prohibitive to Repair schools will assist boards in meeting their outstanding capital needs.

Outdated benchmarks remaining in the funding formula will continue to present school boards with financial challenges, as will the negative impact of declining enrolment. OCSTA is pleased that the government has responded positively to our recommendations for a provincial task force on declining enrolment, to re-examine its impact and recommend any long-term solutions. We urge the government to proceed as quickly as possible with a comprehensive review of the funding formula.

While the 2008-09 budget announcement is encouraging, a significant portion of board expenditures will arise from the outcome of current discussions on collective agreements with teachers and support staff. We look forward to further funding announcements regarding this issue.

OCSTA will continue to analyze the impact of the 2008-09 budget release. We look forward to working in cooperation with the Minister of Education to ensure that boards have the necessary resources to meet the needs for student success.

The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association is the provincial voice for Catholic education. Founded in 1930, OCSTA represents Catholic school boards that collectively educate more than 600,000 students in Ontario, from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12.