Across Ontario, school boards are struggling with managing their infrastructure. Declining enrollments have left many community schools with no option but to close, a particularly painful option in rural areas where school closures mean longer bus rides for little kids and a further hollowing out of already stressed communities. A complicated funding formula has also put a strain on the ability of schools to provide broad-based programs.
Years ago, in the Mike Harris days of the “common sense revolution, funded “space” was the number of square feet/inches per pupil .
This meant that funding to clean halls, maintain any area that did not serve as a full-time classroom was not added into the mix, leaving boards to manage as best they could.
Top up funding eventually helped, however, in recent years, even the top up funding for lesser used spaces such as cafeterias, libraries, music rooms or spaces for specialized classes has been reduced or eliminated completely.