Ontario launches consultations on education funding
The province provides more than $25 billion to fund education for Ontario’s 2 million students. Most of this funding flows to school boards who administer it. Provincial consultations this year focus on 8 main categories, but they will accept feedback on any funding topics.
The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2021
- COVID-19 Outbreak Response: The province – using provincial and federal funding – has invested hundreds of millions in response to the COVID outbreak. They want to know:
- How do we ensure that the GSN remains agile to continue to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak?
- What’s required to successfully help students post COVID-19?
- Online Learning Adjustment: The province has announced that secondary students will be required to take two online credits to graduate. These courses will be funded at a class size of 30 students.
- As future adjustments to the funding methodology for online learning courses are to be confirmed through the 2021-22 GSN, do changes and/or adjustments need to be made to the Online Learning Adjustment in order to be more responsive?
- Priorities and Partnership Fund (PPF): Boards can receive funding outside of the Grants for Student Needs (GSN). The Priorities and Partnership Fund includes funding for targeted programs outside regular funding such as Indigenous Education, Math programs, mental health programs, and the Specialist High Skills Major. The Ministry regularly moves some of this funding from the PPF to the GSN.
- Are there further opportunities to improve the administration of transfer payment agreements to continue supporting a reduction in administrative burden?
- Are there other PPF initiatives that should be transferred to the GSN?
- What potential areas of overlap exist within currently funded programs? What opportunities might there be to streamline funding, and to streamline reporting?
- Reducing Administrative Burden and Red Tape: Throughout its mandate, the government has been looking for ways to eliminate “burdensome, outdated and unnecessary regulation”, and “modernize and streamline regulations”. The province is also looking for ways to “reduce administrative burden … while ensuring strong accountability and value for money”.
- Are there opportunities to reduce the number of non-financial reports and PPF reports school boards currently submit to the ministry?
- Are there areas of overlap or duplication in the current reports school boards submit to the ministry?
- School board administration and governance grant: The province is looking for “savings” in the grants for school board administration. Funding for administration has declined over the last few years.
- Are there areas of overlap between this grant and other grants within the current funding formula to support school board administration and governance? Are there opportunities to streamline funding to eliminate duplication and find savings?
- How can compliance with the enveloping provisions of this grant be consistently measured across school boards?
- Managing Information for Student Achievement (MISA): Funding for MISA supports school boards to conduct research and analyze data about their students.
- How can the ministry better support boards in their annual MISA plans and final reporting template submissions?
- Boards currently have discretion to utilize MISA funding in alignment with the 4 priority funding areas – how relevant are these priorities areas for boards moving forward?
- Are there other funding priority areas where MISA funds could be directed to maximize impact?
- Census data: Approximately 14% of funding for school boards is based on Census Data, including things like proportion of students from low-income families, Indigenous students, Immigration data etc. The province is still using 2006 Census data, even though there is extensive and accurate data available from the 2016 census.
- How should allocations within the GSN be adjusted to reflect updated census data based on the re-distributed impacts to school boards? Should any updates be phased-in? If yes, what is an appropriate phase-in period and why?
- Secondary Class Size Compliance: Currently, there are frameworks to ensure compliance with class size regulations from kindergarten to grade 8. If boards are not in compliance for two or more years, their funding is reduced. The province is now considering extending this to secondary school.
- What are the benefits and/or challenges of implementing a compliance framework for secondary class size?
You may also submit feedback on education funding topics not outlined in this guide. In order to ensure your feedback is considered, please forward your electronic submission by Friday January 15, 2021 to: [email protected]