Boards will be getting additional funding to help with hundreds of new students with autism expected to arrive in classrooms next month, as critics accused the province of downloading kids’ behavioural therapy needs onto Ontario schools.
The Ford government was warned by boards about the impact of the new autism program that reduces funding for thousands of families who are now expected to turn to their local schools looking for services — starting in two weeks’ time.
In anticipation of the imminent influx of students with autism, Education Minister Lisa Thompson announced that the government would provide schools about $12,300 per new student. Schools receive that amount for every kid enrolled; however, under previous rules they could be eligible for the funds only up to March 31. But school boards had been writing to Thompson, as well as Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, with their concerns about how the controversial autism overhaul could create an unsustainable burden on schools as of April 1, when the new program takes effect.