The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is pleased that the Ontario government’s 2017 Grants for Student Needs (GSNs) reflect an agreement for additional special education funding reached as part of ETFO’s extended collective agreements in March.
“The government has made good on its commitment to increase Special Education funding as they agreed to do during ETFO’s recent negotiations,” said ETFO president Sam Hammond. “We also negotiated additional funding for local priorities to provide more teaching support for students. That is also reflected in the government’s announcement today.”
The roll-out of the funding will allow for school boards to work with union partners to determine the best way to allocate these additional funds to staffing.
“While the funding is a step in the right direction, there is still much work to be done to provide sufficient funding and resources for children with special needs. We have been very clear that while we support an integrated model for special education, the funding for special needs has not kept up with the actual needs of students,” added Hammond.
The GSNs will also fund reduction in class sizes for grades 4-8 and introduce caps on class sizes for Kindergarten. These items were also agreed to in ETFO’s extended contract agreement.
“Class size and additional Special Education funding are two factors among many that require significant action to address the impact of serious behavioural issues leading to violence in classrooms. We’ve also called on the government to build capacity for children’s mental health services in schools,” said Hammond.
ETFO is committed to building better schools. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at www.buildingbetterschools.ca. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.