By Peter D'Gama
Since the provincial government assumed control over education funding in Ontario, the physical condition of Ontario schools has been deteriorating. Inadequate funding set at a level below the actual costs incurred by boards has put many boards into having to choose between classroom instruction and facility maintenance.
The choice to defer spending on maintenance has resulted in a backlog. This was exposed in the Education Equality Task Force (Rozanski Report in December 2002, which identified identified a deferred maintenance backlog estimated at 5.6 billion and growing. Today this stands 1t 15.9 billion dollars.
To address this backlog, an independent assessment calculated that the Ministry of Education needs $ 1.4 billion annually to maintain schools in a state of good repair. The backlog in schools in Etobicoke North Ward 1 the constituency of Premier Ford is $ 186 million dollars.
Given this huge backlog, the cancellation of $100 million dollars addressed to deal with some of this backlog, the Premier betrayed his constituency by cancelling these funds which was merely a down payment towards addressing the 15.9 billion backlog.
We need to fix and green our schools. Implementing energy audit and updated energy standards to reduce the Cities Carbon footprint. In taking on this task to address the backlog we can also provide job training and employment opportunity to community residents and workers seeking opportunity in skilled trades and in the field of energy auditing and retrofits.
We need as a City to demand that the province live up to financial obligation to address this backlog. If it is unwilling to do so the City should embark on this project by instituting a Municipal Public bank that would issue municipal infrastructure bonds .