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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Local School Boards Grapple With Cuts to Specialized Programs

Midhurst | by Ian MacLennan  

Public and Catholic boards both say many programs were not budgeted because they had not received any money.

Nearly a week after the Ford government sliced $25 million in funding for specialized programs at Ontario schools,  the public and catholic boards in Simcoe County are still seeking answers.

The Simcoe County District School Board says nine programming grants are being eliminated including Tutors in the Classroom.

Chair Jodi Lloyd says they will lose about $450,000 in grants.

She says 15 other grants will continue or be replaced and three are being reduced.

Because the money had yet to arrive, staff did not budget for the programs.

Lloyd says the board wants more specifics regarding the three grants that are being reduced that are tied to mental health and well being,  safe schools and techno math.

At the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board,  communications manager Pauline Stevenson says they took a cautious approach when the budget was passed in June and specialized programs were in a wait and see mode because they did not have cash in hand.

Stevenson says if the funding isn't coming in, the board can't move forward with some important initiatives,  at least not at this point.

She says they were cautious knowing a new government always means change, and the board didn't want to be in a position where it was putting programs in place where funding had not been secured.

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