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Ontario Opening More Family Literacy Centres

McGuinty Government Supports Early Learning and Parent Engagement

May 1, 2008

Ontario will open 34 new Parenting and Family Literacy Centres in schools this September. The $2 million investment will help more young children get a great start on learning.

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Safe Schools and Bullying Prevention A Priority for the McGuinty Government

Government of Ontario News - Ministry of Education

Amendments To The Education Act Pass With Unanimous Consent In The Legislature

        QUEEN'S PARK, June 5 /CNW/ -- The McGuinty government's amendments to the
        safe schools provisions of the Education Act will strike a balance between
        more effectively combining discipline with opportunities for students to
        continue their education, Education Minister Kathleen Wynne announced last

        "I am proud of this piece of progressive and effective legislation that
        will address the concerns we have heard," said Education Minister Kathleen
        Wynne following its passage in the Legislature. "These changes show that we
        are listening to the people of Ontario, and demonstrate our government's
        determination to address the tougher issues and make our schools safer places
        for students to learn."

        Bill 212, the Education Amendment Act (Progressive Discipline and School
        Safety), 2007, amends sections of the Education Act and replaces them with new
        provisions related to the suspension and expulsion of pupils.

        Highlights include:

        -   Adding bullying to the list of infractions for which suspension must
        be considered
        -   Supporting a progressive discipline approach to choose the
        appropriate course of action in the case of inappropriate behaviour.
        -   Replacing mandatory suspensions and expulsions for students (except
        in limited circumstances) with the requirement that principals and
        school boards respond to all infractions that occurred in the most
        appropriate way
        -   Requiring that mitigating factors be considered before students are
        suspended or expelled
        -   Clarifying decision-making authority for principals to suspend and
        school boards to expel students.
        To support the changes, the government has allocated $31 million
        annually, beginning in 2007-2008, to make Ontario's schools safer. This
        includes $23 million for programs and supports to address inappropriate
        behaviour and programs for all expelled students and students serving
        long-term suspensions. Training will be provided to principals and
        vice-principals on changes to the act and ways to apply discipline in a
        non-discriminatory manner. The bill will come into effect February 1, 2008 to
        provide school boards with time to put programs in place to fully implement
        the requirements of the new legislation.

        The Safe Schools Action Team, led by Liz Sandals, Parliamentary Assistant
        to the Minister of Education held extensive consultations around the province.
        The team heard from 700 parents, students, community members and educators who
        shared their experience and expertise, resulting in fair, progressive
        legislation that was passed unanimously.

        "The changes offer a better, fairer, more equitable approach to ensuring
        safety in our schools," said Sandals. "Through our consultations we heard that
        there was a lack of focus on prevention - as well as serious discrepancies in
        consistency, fairness and methods of discipline when it came to the
        application of the act. The changes to the legislation will help address these

        The amendments and funding will build on the government's current $28.7
        million investment to make schools safer and help prevent bullying. The
        current investment includes:

            -   $3 million for a three-year partnership with Kids Help Phone to
        provide more resources for bullying and cyber-bullying prevention
        -   $6 million for model projects to promote positive behaviour
        -   $7.8 million for bullying-prevention programs/resources for schools
        and boards
        -   $4.5 million for bullying-prevention training for up to 25,000
        -   $1.2 million for bullying-prevention training for approximately 7,500
        principals and vice-principals
        -   $3.2 million for security access devices for schools as part of a
        Safe Welcome Program to help staff better monitor school visitors and
        limit points of access into schools
        -   $3 million through the OESC Special Circumstances Bullying and
        Violence Prevention Fund for schools facing additional challenges

        "The McGuinty government believes that all students and staff in Ontario
        schools have the right to feel safe at school and on school grounds," said
        Wynne. "Our government is committed to making schools safe in this province to
        help ensure that all our students can achieve their full potential."

Children’s Charter of Rights Endorsed

Upper Grand District School Board

June, 2007. -- The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Report Card Coalition on the Well-being of Children approached the board requesting it to endorse the “Children’s Charter of Rights”.

Developed by a number of child-centered communities and organizations, the charter, which is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, outlines a vision to make the district a better place for children and families.

The board unanimously supported the charter. The goal of the coalition is to have the charter endorsed by many political councils, community organizations and local businesses to make a compelling statement about the intent to support and advocate for the rights of children. For more information contact Jennifer MacLeod at

Public board gets first look at 2007-08 budget

TheRecord.Com - Kitchener Article

June 5, 2007. -- Public school board trustees have gotten their first look at what they have to work with for the coming school year's budget.

The Waterloo Region District School Board is currently spending some $5 million more than it is getting in revenue. It has to cut about that amount to balance its budget.

Some of the cuts have already been decided.

In April, trustees voted to radically restructure early literacy intervention by phasing out itinerant teachers who pull out struggling Grade 1 students for small-group work. Classroom teachers and special-education teachers will fill the gap to save $1.3 million.

Trustees also voted in a new school year calendar that largely harmonizes professional activity days for elementary and secondary students in both the public and Catholic school boards, so buses don't have to go on the roads those days. That move saved $161,000.

Last night, financial services superintendent Marilyn Marklevitz presented a draft budget that makes a few more cuts and takes into account the decisions already made and some new pockets of funding from the province.

The cuts recommended include:

To change some schools' bell times so a single bus could drop off students at one school with an earlier start time, then pick up other kids and take them to another school with a later start time, to save $158,000.

To eliminate the board's part-time liaison teacher for home-schooled students, to save $45,000

To eliminate the board's part-time equity officer, to save $44,000

But the draft budget isn't balanced -- it still leaves a $1.5 million shortfall.

Technically, it might be possible to cover that shortfall with reserve funds.

Although trustees voted to cover last year's deficit by spending $3.5 million in reserves, nearly $2 million is actually expected to remain in the bank at the end of August, Marklevitz said.

That's because some savings have already been realized through instructions to schools to cut costs wherever possible, decreasing the amount spent this school year.

A one-time grant of some $700,000 has also come in.

Trustees could decide to spend its reserves again this year, but that would leave a problem for next year, Marklevitz said.

The board's expenditure review committee recently issued a report recommending a number of other cuts. If all those were implemented, it would create another $1.465 million in savings, nearly eliminating the budget shortfall.

Those deeper cuts would include:

Slashing the adult and continuing education budget by discontinuing a number of programs, such as driver education, available elsewhere in the community

Imposing user fees on students in the academically challenging International Baccalaureate program and for musical instrument repairs

Eliminating the Office of Partnerships and Innovation, which operates a number of grant-based programs not required by the province

Reducing maintenance standards and delaying replacement of vehicles

Reducing the budget for supply teachers by $400,000

Reducing some school administration staff through attrition

Trustees voted to ask staff to mock up what a balanced budget would look like and present it at the next meeting.

There will be at least three and possibly up to five budget meetings.

Members of the public may appear as delegates at school board meetings the next three Monday nights. If need be, additional budget meetings may be held on June 13 and June 20. Trustees will be asked to finalize next year's finances on June 25.

Contact Information

Christina Walsh, Educational Advocate
Back to Basics Educational Services

Tel: 519-925-9164

Email: Special Education Advocate


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