Ontario Provides over $1 billion for Waterloo Region Public Schools for 2021-22 School YearPublished on May 05, 2021
Record-level Support for Mental Health and Learning Recovery Included as Part of a Historic Investment in 2021-22 School Year
May 4, 2021
WATERLOO REGION – Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris announced that the Ontario government will support local students by providing Waterloo Region District School Board and $735.0 million, an increase of $10.4 million and Waterloo Catholic District School Board with $289.4 million an increase of $15.7 million for the 2021-22 school year through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program.
“This historic investment in the education of our public school students is great news for families in Waterloo Region like my own,” said Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris. “I know firsthand how important student success and wellbeing is for parents and I’m pleased to be part of a government that is delivering significant resources to help our children reach their full potential.”
This week, the Ontario government announced new support for a safe and successful 2021-22 school year, including an additional $1.6 billion in resources to protect against COVID-19 and $561 million more in ongoing investments in public education for the 2021-22 school year through the GSN. Total GSN funding is projected to be $25.6 billion. This reflects the third straight year it has increased under the current government, and on a per-student basis is estimated to rise to $12,686, which is the highest amount ever.
“Our government is investing more in public education than any government in Ontario history,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “As we continue to work with the Chief Medical Officer of Health to evaluate the safe resumption of in-class learning, our number-one priority remains safety in the classroom. To deliver on that priority, our government is making more than $1.6 billion available to protect school safety while investing in the long-term success of students with more support for reading, math, mental health, and special education needs.”
In order to support a safe return to classroom learning in September, Ontario is investing $1.6 billion in targeted COVID-19 resources that will be used for expenses such as enhanced cleaning protocols, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and critical supplies and equipment, and temporary staffing supports. Waterloo Region District School Board and Waterloo Catholic District School Board will receive access to up to $27,770,000 and $ 12,170,000 respectively in resources to keep local students, school staff and their families safe from COVID-19.
The Ontario government is supporting learning recovery and renewal by investing an additional $85.5 million to help students across the province address the effects of learning disruptions as a result of COVID-19. Investments will support reading and math for young learners, student re-engagement, and mental health and well-being supports. These learning recovery and renewal measures will include partnering with School Mental Health Ontario to support educators and enable timely interventions; additional teaching resources including math leads and coaches; and summer learning and special education supports, among other initiatives. These steps will position Ontario as a leading jurisdiction in unveiling a suite of learning recovery initiatives in advance of the next school year.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has made unprecedented investments to support student mental health, including over $80 million projected in 2021-22, which is more than four times the investments made in 2017-18. For the 2021-22 school year, Ontario will also be providing school boards with $3.2 billion to support students with special education needs through the GSN – the highest investment recorded in Ontario.
- COVID-19 resources will provide school boards with $1.6 billion for a wide range of supports, such as additional staffing to support remote learning and social distancing through smaller class sizes and support for remote learning technology, including improvements to connectivity within school buildings.
- School boards have been instructed to not require parental decision on in-person or remote learning before June 1, 2021, at the earliest.
- Resources will also be available to support health and safety measures, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies for school boards; enhanced cleaning protocols of schools and school busses; and additional staffing to support cleaning.
- The 2021-22 COVID-19 supports do not include any federal government investments.
- The Ministry of Education provides operating funding to Ontario’s 72 district school boards and 10 school authorities through the annual GSN education funding model. Funding to school boards is provided on a combination of per-student, per-school, and per-board basis.
- In addition to Ontario’s annual investment of approximately $1.4 billion to support the repair and renewal of schools and $550 million for new schools, additions and major renovations, school boards will have access to $656 million in combined federal-provincial funding. This funding is being provided to school boards under the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
- The government also allocated $100 million to school boards during the 2020-21 school year to support immediate measures to optimize air quality and ventilation in schools, which helped ensure over 95 per cent of school boards reported improvements this school year.
- Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Ontario government has stepped up to provide Ontario families with $1.8 billion in direct financial support. The latest round is $980 million in direct support as part of the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit, where payments will be doubled to $400 per child and $500 for a child with special needs to help offset additional learning costs. Applications are now being accepted until May 17, 2021.
GSN and PPF Allocations for 2021-22