Students, teachers and parents who were worried about the potential closure of vocal music and French classrooms next year were probably relieved to learn that the Peel District School Board trustees recently voted to approve the use of in-year funding to keep some classrooms open during the 2017-18 year.
The board will put forth the use of up to $1 million from in-year savings to provide cleaning services in a maximum of two non-funded, permanent classrooms (or three., in very exceptional circumstances) for the 2017-18 school year at elementary schools that are below their ministry rated capacity.
The affected classrooms were in danger due to the discontinuation of top-up funding for Ontario school boards, a situation that board Chair Janet McDougald wrote to Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter to discuss back in October 2016. The discontinuation resulted in the closure of “empty” (the board’s emphasis, not ours) classrooms during the 2016-17 school year and possible future closures of music and French elementary school classrooms during the 2017-18 year.
“Faced with a $2.8-million cut in funding from the Ministry of Education for the cleaning of schools, trustees directed Peel board administration to use in-year savings and the board’s Working Reserve Fund, if required, to prevent vocal music and French classroom closures in elementary schools this school year,” McDougald said in a statement. “Trustees’ direction of funds is not a long-term solution. For help with that permanent solution, we turn to the ministry.”