Candidates Response to Question 3 of the 2014 Provincial Election

On June 12, 2014 Halton voters will cast their ballot for local Provincial candidates. On behalf of Halton residents, Regional Chair Gary Carr has sent a letter and questionnaire to Halton’s candidates asking for their positions on a number of issues of critical importance to Halton Region.

Question 3

3. Halton’s school boards receive the lowest per capital funding in the Province and they have recently learned that their operating and capital costs are being cut. Being a growing region, particularly in Milton, Canada’s fastest growing community, funding is urgently needed and without it, we will not be able to keep up with the provincial mandated growth. What will you and your government do to increase Halton’s school board’s funding to enable them to meet their students’ needs?

Choose which candidates to display
Burlington

    Meredith Cross - Green



    Charles J. Zach - Libertarian
Halton

    Susan Farrant - Green
    Kal Ghory - Libertarian




Oakville
    Andrew Chlobowski - Green




    Silvio Ursomarzo - Freedom
Wellington - Halton Hills


    Jason Cousineau - Libertarian

    Mitch Sproule - Freedom


Andrew Brannan, Burlington - Freedom a.p.brannan@gmail.com

I work as a nurse in Milton hospital and I commute from Burlington, so I am intimately aware of the region’s growth and I am sympathetic to the maximization of educational opportunity for children, being a father of three. My wife is a teacher employed by Halton. Perhaps there is a conflict of interest in my answering this question, but the truth is that the Halton School Board, like all school boards in Ontario, should be abolished. They serve no function other than perpetuate the bureaucratic morass that is education. All education should be radically decentralized, and the administrators at the school board can get jobs in the productive sector of the economy, instead of wasting resources performing social experiments on our children. Freedom Party has no platform vis a vis school boards, but this is my opinion and it is consistent with the principles of Freedom.

In 2006, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe identified the Niagara to GTA transportation corridor, a Provincial highway that would cut through the Niagara Escarpment, the most significant natural landform in Ontario and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Halton Region strongly opposes the establishment of a new highway crossing through the Niagara Escarpment to address the transportation demand in Niagara and GTA regions.

View all of Andrew Brannan's responses

Jane McKenna, Burlington - Conservative website (external link)   jane.mckenna@pc.ola.org

Education is the most crucial advantage we can give to our children, and we have to do better if we want to give our children a fair chance to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. Ontario PCs would place renewed emphasis on science and math education. The government’s own data shows that in 300 elementary schools, less than half of students are passing provincial tests. We will invest some of the savings we achieve elsewhere in the budget in extra support for schools that are struggling as well as students with special needs.

View all of Jane McKenna's responses

Eleanor McMahon, Burlington - Liberal  website (external link) emcmahon.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Ontario Liberals are committed to helping our kids become lifelong learners - that’s why we’ve increased funding for education for the 10th straight year. Funding for our education system is up 56% since 2003. When the PCs were in power, they closed 500 schools, fired 15,000 teachers and lost 26 million teaching days to strikes. It is very troubling that they are once again proposing to cut educational support workers and teachers – a move that would jeopardize the success we’ve achieved in our education system since 2003.

We have invested $12 billion in school infrastructure since 2003, including nearly 650 new schools, over 620 additions and renovations, and 27,000 repair and renewal projects. Ontario has also helped make more than 2,600 publicly funded schools more energy efficient. We have also hired 13,300 new teachers since 2003.

Ontario Liberals are committed to giving our children the best possible start – and giving our economy the most highly-educated workforce in the world. By 2014, all four- and five-year olds will have access to Full Day Kindergarten. Families will save thousands of dollars in childcare costs, while their kids get a world class education. We have increased childcare funding for the Regional Municipality of Halton to $30.7 million in 2014, a 171% increase from 2003.

Our government invested $4 million in additional supports for math to ensure that teachers have the tools they need to help our students succeed. We also increased funding for our Summer Learning Program to $6 million to provide support for more elementary students who may be struggling in math and literacy.

As a result of our dedication to improving Ontario’s education system, our graduation rates have increased from 68% in 2003 to 83% in 2013 – that’s 138,000 more students that have graduated thanks to our student success strategies. On top of that, 92% of students are meeting or exceeding international standards, regardless of socio-economic background or first language. When the PC party was in government, only 54% of students were meeting the provincial standard.

Our government is also committed to giving students with special education needs the support that they need to succeed. We’re making changes to be even more responsive to those needs and to ensure that boards have the resources they need to deliver high quality programs to our most vulnerable students. Our investments in special education are part of our efforts to increase student success and close gaps in student achievement. For 2014-15, Halton will receive $85.5 million in special education funding, which is an increase of $6.1 million, or 7.6% over 2013-14 and $49.1 million or 135% since 2003. 

View all of Eleanor McMahon's responses
NDP

Jan Mowbray, Burlington - NDP website (external link) jan@janmowbray.ca,

The Liberal cuts to education and child care are unacceptable and Tim Hudak will cut even deeper. Andrea Horwath is the only leader committed to making significant investments in education. An Ontario NDP government will create an Open Schools Fund with $60 million in annual funding to prevent school closures and increase after-hours school access for non-profit groups. We will also provide $450 million in additional capital funding for schools over the next three years.

Under an Ontario NDP government, school boards will be able to hire 1,000 more educational assistants and 1,000 new health and physical education teachers. We are the only party that will actually increase the supports available to students in classrooms across Ontario. Student nutrition programs will also see increased funding of $15 million per year to promote healthy eating and provide nutritious breakfasts and lunches.

View all of Jan Mowbray's responses

David Clement, Oakville - Libertarian  website (external link)  david@davidclement.ca

Much like the healthcare question above, education is to be treated in the same manner. The Ontario Libertarian Party proposes a directed-tax school model, where parents’ tax dollars follow their children and go to the education systems they choose. This optimizes school choice for parents and promotes healthy upwards progression in education results. The Ontario Libertarian Party also seeks to liberate the Catholic School Board, so that the province is treating all religions equally. Lastly, the Ontario Libertarian Party will seek to partially privatize some of the behind-the-scenes educational services. By restructuring the payment model, growth becomes less of an issue because an increase in school populations means an increase directed-tax decisions, thus ensuring that the needs of the region are met. Liberating the Catholic School Board will work to release the monetary burden of running two nearly identical school boards, which allows for a more efficient system to deal with growth and more appropriately accommodate for operating and capital costs. Partially privatizing behind-the-scenes educational services also releases some financial expenditure, which allows Halton’s school boards to invest their time and resources more so into the provision of education and meeting the ever changing needs of students.

View all of David Clement's responses

Kevin Flynn

Kevin Flynn, Oakville - Liberal  website External Link  kflynn@ontarioliberal.com

Ontario Liberals are committed to helping our kids become lifelong learners - that’s why we’ve increased funding for education for the 10th straight year -- Funding for our education system is up 56% since 2003. When the PCs were in power, they closed 500 schools, fired 15,000 teachers and lost 26 million teaching days to strikes. It is very troubling that they are once again proposing to cut educational support workers and teachers – a move that would jeopardize the success we’ve have achieved in our education system since 2003.

We have invested $12 billion in school infrastructure since 2003, including nearly 650 new schools, over 620 additions and renovations, and 27,000 repair and renewal projects. Ontario has also helped make more than 2,600 publicly funded schools more energy efficient. We have also hired 13,300 new teachers since 2003.

Ontario Liberals committed to giving our children get the best possible start – and giving our economy the most highly educated workforce in the world. By 2014, all four- and five-year olds will have access to Full Day Kindergarten. Families will save thousands of dollars in childcare costs, while their kids get a world class education. We have increased childcare funding the Regional Municipality of Halton to $30.7 million in 2014, a 171% increase from 2003.

Our government invested $4 million in additional supports for math to ensure that teachers have the tools they need to help our students succeed. We also increased funding for our Summer Learning Program to $6 million to provide support for more elementary students who may be struggling in math and literacy.

As a result of our dedication to improving Ontario’s education system, our graduation rates have increased from 68% in 2003 to 83% in 2013 – that’s 138,000 more students that have graduated thanks to our student success strategies. On top of that, 92% of students are meeting or exceeding international standards, regardless of socio-economic background or first language. When the PC party was in government, only 54% of students were meeting the provincial standard.

Our government is also committed to giving students with special education needs the support that they need to succeed. We’re making changes to be even more responsive to those needs and to o ensure that boards have the resources they need to deliver high quality programs to our most vulnerable students. Our investments in special education are part of our efforts to increase student success and close gaps in student achievement. For 2014-15, Halton will receive $85.5 million in special education funding, which is an increase of $6.1 million, or 7.6% over 2013-14 and $49.1 million or 135% since 2003.

When you look at our system province-wide, it’s ranked as the best in the English-speaking world; then you look at that system itself and you realize that our two school boards here in Halton consistently rank in the top five, usually first, second or third.

If our boards were down near the bottom of the rankings and we were spending the same amount of money as we were in other boards, I’d be extremely concerned about that. It seems to me, what we’re doing here, both school boards are handling the funds from the province in a very responsible way and they’re making an efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

View all of Kevin Flynn's responses
Che Marville

Che Marville, Oakville - NDP  che@oakvillendp.ca

Education is the greater equalizer, we are committed to being a global leader in education. Schools boards will be able to apply for funding to help keep schools threatened with closure open, make necessary renovations, and to repurpose under-utilized space for other community uses.Schools can also apply to the fund to increase free and low-fee access for non-profit groups to use school space during evenings and weekends.

View all of Che Marville's responses

Larry Scott

Larry Scott, Oakville - Conservative larryscottpc@gmail.com

There is no significant amount of money available from the provincial government to try and buy solutions to our problems here in Halton. In spite of that, you have my personal commitment to work with you, to examine solutions that you may have or will come up with, to better serve all the people in Halton

View all of Larry Scott's responses

Ted Chudleigh

Ted Chudleigh, Halton - Conservative  ted@tedchudleigh.com

We will ensure that up to date population information is used to calculate funding. It is irresponsible of the government to to anything else. Halton's growing population must be served by fair and reasonable treatment from the provincial government - that's why I asked the legislature to pass a resolution that insured provincial grants and funding were provided on the basis of actual, up to date population counts, rather than data from census information that is often years out of date.

View all of Ted Chudleigh's responses

Gerry Marsh - Family Coalition Party

Gerry Marsh, Halton - Family Coalition website (external link)   gerry.halton@fcpontario.ca

The FCP supports a parental choice school model based on studies that show when parents make choices on their children’s’ education that the child actually does better in school. Clearly funding needs to cover the cost of delivering the education our children need. Collecting taxes for the same service at multiple levels of government and funneling the dollars down to where needed seems to me to be very inefficient and perhaps a funding model is needed for our education system.

View all of Gerry Marsh's responses
Indira Naidoo-Harris

Indira Naidoo-Harris, Halton - Liberal  website (external link)  inaidoo-harrisliberal.ola.org

We have invested $12 billion in school infrastructure since 2003, including nearly 650 new schools, and over 27,000 repair and renewal projects. In Halton alone we have built 20 new schools, with two more on the way.

Ontario Liberals have always believed that education is the most important investment we can make. We are committed to helping our kids become lifelong learners - that’s why we’ve increased funding for education for the 10th straight year -- Funding for our education system is up 56% since 2003. Studies have shown that Ontario has the best education system in the English speaking world.

When the PCs were in power, they closed 500 schools, fired 15,000 teachers and lost 26 million teaching days to strikes. It is very troubling that they are once again proposing to cut educational support workers and teachers – a move that would jeopardize the success we’ve have achieved in our education system since 2003.

As a result of our dedication to improving Ontario’s education system, our graduation rates have increased every year, from 68% in 2003 to 83% in 2013. That’s 138,000 more students who have graduated thanks to our student success strategies, which is roughly equivalent to the population of Guelph. On top of that, 92% of students are meeting or exceeding international standards, regardless of socio-economic background or first language.

To continue the progress we’ve made, our government has invested $4 million in additional supports for math to ensure that teachers have the tools they need to help our students succeed. We also increased funding for our Summer Learning Program to $6 million to provide support for more elementary students who may be struggling.

A crucial component of the Ontario Liberal plan is to give our children get the best possible start – and give our economy the most highly educated workforce in the world. Studies have shown that children attending full day kindergarten are more successful in school, have better language skills, and improved cognitive development. By September 2014, all four- and five-year olds will have access to Full Day Kindergarten. That’s over 265,000 children across the province. The program saves families up to $6500 per child per year in childcare costs, while their kids get a world class education. We have also increased childcare funding the Regional Municipality of Halton to $30.7 million in 2014, a 171% increase since we first took office.

The Hudak PCs would jeopardize the gains we’ve made, by decimating the full-day kindergarten program. Many of their proposed cuts would be made to this program, with reductions to the current staffing model, and increases to class sizes. The proposed layoffs would also mean higher class sizes across the board, and fewer educational assistants to support students with challenges. These cuts will hit our most vulnerable students the hardest.

Finally, Ontario Liberals are committed to giving students with special education needs the support that they need to succeed. We’re making changes to be even more responsive to those needs and to o ensure that boards have the resources they need to deliver high quality programs to our most vulnerable students. Our investments in special education are part of our efforts to increase student success and close gaps in student achievement. For 2014-15, boards in Halton will receive $124.9 million in special education funding, which is an increase of $10.5 million over 2013-14 and $70 million or 130% since 2003.

View all of Indira Naidoo-Harris' responses
NDP

Nik Spohr, Halton - NDP nik@nikspohr.ca,

The Liberal cuts to education and child care are unacceptable and Tim Hudak will cut even deeper. Andrea Horwath is the only leader committed to making significant investments in education. An Ontario NDP government will create an Open Schools Fund with $60 million in annual funding to prevent school closures and increase after-hours school access for non-profit groups. We will also provide $450 million in additional capital funding for schools over the next three years.

Under an Ontario NDP government, school boards will be able to hire 1,000 more educational assistants and 1,000 new health and physical education teachers. We are the only party that will actually increase the supports available to students in classrooms across Ontario. Student nutrition programs will also see increased funding of $15 million per year to promote healthy eating and provide nutritious breakfasts and lunches.

View all of Nik Spohr's responses
Ted Arnott

Ted Arnott, Wellington Halton Hills - Conservative  website (external link)  ted.arnott@pc.ola.org

If local school board and municipal Councils were to seek my assistance on school board funding issues and provide me with detailed facts, I would be happy to work with them to seek a positive outcome for our students.

View all of Ted Arnott's responses
NDP

Michael Carlucci, Wellington-Halton Hills    michaelcarlucci@ontariondp.ca

The Liberal cuts to education and child care are unacceptable and Tim Hudak will cut even deeper. Andrea Horwath is the only leader committed to making significant investments in education. An Ontario NDP government will create an Open Schools Fund with $60 million in annual funding to prevent school closures and increase after-hours school access for non-profit groups. We will also provide $450 million in additional capital funding for schools over the next three years.

Under an Ontario NDP government, school boards will be able to hire 1,000 more educational assistants and 1,000 new health and physical education teachers. We are the only party that will actually increase the supports available to students in classrooms across Ontario. Student nutrition programs will also see increased funding of $15 million per year to promote healthy eating and provide nutritious breakfasts and lunches.

View all of the Michael Carlucci's responses
Dan Zister

Dave Rodgers, Wellington Halton Hills - Green   daverodgers@gpo.ca,

Your Green MPPs will call on the government to merge the English and French public and Catholic school boards. We’ll have one public school system in Ontario with French and English school boards. The GPO wants the $1.2 to $1.6 billion that will be saved every year to go back into the classroom. Merging the school boards will allow us to increase funding for special education, keep more schools open, and reduce urban busing.

View all of the Dave Rodgers' responses
Dan Zister

Dan Zister, Wellington - Halton Hills - Liberal  website (external link)  dan@danzister.ca

I along with my party am committed to helping our kids become lifelong learners - that’s why we’ve increased funding for education for the 10th straight year -- Funding for our education system is up 56% since 2003. As mentioned above, when the PCs were in power, they closed 500 schools, fired 15,000 teachers and lost countless days due to strikes. I, along with residents, find it very troubling that they are once again proposing to cut educational support workers and teachers – a move that would jeopardize the success we have achieved in our education system since 2003.

Our party has invested $12 billion in school infrastructure since 2003, including nearly 650 new schools, over 620 additions and renovations, and 27,000 repair and renewal projects. Ontario has also helped make more than 2,600 publicly funded schools more energy efficient and we have hired 13,300 new teachers since 2003.

We have also increased childcare funding the Regional Municipality of Halton to $30.7 million in 2014, a 171% increase from 2003. Our government invested $4 million in additional supports for math to ensure that teachers have the tools they need to help our students succeed. We also increased funding for our Summer Learning Program to $6 million to provide support for more elementary students who may be struggling in math and literacy.

As a result of our dedication to improving Ontario’s education system, our graduation rates have increased from 68% in 2003 to 83% in 2013 – which is 138,000 more students that have graduated thanks to our student success strategies. Furthermore, 92% of students are meeting or exceeding international standards, regardless of socio-economic background or first language. Yet when the PC party was in government, only 54% of students were meeting the provincial standard.

Our government is also committed to giving students with special education needs the support that they need to succeed. We are making changes to be even more responsive to those needs and to ensure that boards have the resources they need to deliver high quality programs to our most vulnerable students. Our investments in special education are part of our efforts to increase student success and close gaps in student achievement. For 2014-15, Halton will receive $85.5 million in special education funding, which is an increase of $6.1 million, or 7.6% over 2013-14 and $49.1 million or 135% since 2003.

View all of Dan Zister's responses