FLAMBOROUGH VOTES: Candidates speak out on aging schools

News Sep 08, 2011 Flamborough Review

This week’s question, penned by Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board

trustee Karen Turkstra (wards 14-15) and posed to the

Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale provincial candidates, centres on

education:

“Public education is the second largest line item in the

provincial budget. The average age of schools in the HWDSB is over 50

years old and many are desperate for school renewal capital funds that

will better align the students with the needs of 21st century learning

and work world readiness in the global market (updated science labs,

technology pods, graphic design centres etc, not to mention the boilers,

roofs and windows). What are your capital funding

strategies/commitments that will address the school renewal deficits in

Ontario?”

Trevor Westerhoff • NDP

The current education funding model is outdated and is not meeting the needs of Ontario students.

In the last eight years, parents and students have experienced school closures, increased fees and fewer educational supports and opportunities. Ontario’s New Democrats would stand up for properly funded elementary schools. We would limit parent fees, reduce the need for fundraising appeals and enforce the ban on course fees.

We would conduct a long-needed, complete review of the education funding formula and establish a Rural School Stabilization Strategy, which will protect public schools at threat of closure and consolidation in rural areas. We must ensure that the province’s schools are adequately funded to provide students the programs and services they need to thrive and succeed.

Donna Skelly • Progressive Conservative

The goal of our education system is to provide every student with the tools they need to do their best in life and to prepare them to join Ontario’s workplace.

Dalton McGuinty’s priorities for education are putting cellphones in the classroom, banning chocolate milk and teaching sex education to six-year-olds.

We will increase spending on education by $2 billion every year, fight to keep small schools open and root out waste in our bloated school board bureaucracies.

We will implement full-day kindergarten for all schools. We will free the teachers to teach; they will be able to ban cellphones in their classroom, teach phonics and hand out marks free from pressure to inflate grades.

At its best, education is the great opportunity builder, giving  kids from all different types of families an equal start in life.

We will make it even better.

Erik Coverdale • Green Party

What better way to align students and our community with the needs of the 21st century than engaging them early in the green economy?

School buildings could benefit significantly from green upgrades that would generate long-term, sustainable savings on energy bills. Many schools are already doing this by participating in the FIT program. I personally installed a small wind turbine at a ‘green school’ in Lively, Ontario where the project serves to inspire youth as well as generate clean energy.

The massive savings in energy costs create a return on investment so lucrative we would be crazy not to pursue the projects – and we get green jobs out of the deal right away!  

Why not engage students in the process? Integrate sustainable design into the graphic design courses. Let's get the science students involved in looking at green alternatives, evaluating new technologies and making recommendations.

We could start by sharing best practices between the school boards and showing our community that we know how to optimize our use of resources. Additionally, we would work on expanding the success of the Toronto school model that brought in private business to repair and renovate the roof infrastructure in return for using the rooftop for a solar panel installation.

The Green Party recognizes that many schools are in desperate need of funding for renovations and repairs as well as new facilities. We want our schools to be well funded to ensure our students have the best educational experience possible. Ontario’s schools will be one of the greatest beneficiaries of our green tax-shifting policy. Thanks to this new budget, Ontario students will finally get the top-notch education they deserve.

Glenn Langton • Libertarian

The need to ask this question raises more, important questions, the most glaring being:  why is there a need for further funding?  

Education is “the second largest line item in the provincial budget” – with a budget of $125 billion. The sector has seen a 63 per cent budget increase over eight years plus the ongoing taxation pillage of the amalgamated regions.

Where has the money gone? Where has it been going for the last 40 years?

Why have the science labs, technology pods, graphic design centres etc., not to mention the boilers, roofs and windows not been upgraded on an ongoing basis?   

I submit that lack of money is not the problem, but the government’s virtual monopoly on education is.

The Ministry of Education, the regional boards, the district boards, the municipal boards, and finally the teachers, salaries, pensions and benefits –  not to mention their union dues to one of the most influential and wealthy unions in the province – this is where the money is going rather than being spent on the schools, educational materials, technologies, maintenance, etc.

The way to fix this is twofold:

In the short-term, reduce the size, scope, salaries and frivolous spending of the inefficient, “top down” model we have now and divert those funds directly to immediately required improvements.

In the long-term, we would allow choice to the people of Ontario, by fostering a healthy private school alternative that will breathe competition into the education system.

Allowing parents to opt out of the public system by means of tax credits or a voucher system, we would create a healthy, cost effective private system that would be in direct competition for students, teachers and the dollars associated. Competition would drive down costs and drive up the level of education in both systems by encouraging them to provide the best education per dollar or lose enrolment to another facility.

Robert Maton • Family Coalition Party

Voters in Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough and Westdale tell me that both a balanced Ontario budget and a highly educated workforce are crucial to Ontario’s economy. New strategies are needed to finance school infrastructure and equipment, while keeping costs under control.

Under the McGuinty government, spending has escalated dreadfully. At the end of 2009-10, Ontario had long-term debt of $236.6 billion and total liabilities of $282 billion. The deficit was $19.3 billion, and this year, there will be an additional $14 billion.

When interest rates on the debt begin to rise from their current record lows, Ontario will be in even deeper trouble.

The only way to pay off growing government debt and interest costs is through higher taxes.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada estimates the cost of full-day kindergarten at an additional $1.8 billion annually when fully implemented.

The Family Coalition Party would do the following:

• Since the centralized budgeting process is wasteful and ignores family input, reduce school board administration costs and transfer more responsibility for local budgets to principals, school staff, and families to set priorities with available funds.

• In teaching fields where equipment costs are high, encourage schools to specialize, and help students travel to schools where their education needs will be met.

• Promote more partnerships with industries and businesses who can provide expertise, training, and access to technology at reduced costs.

• Stagger the school day so that expensive equipment and infrastructure do not sit idle.

• Hold the line on teachers’ salaries and pensions. On average, teachers now draw a pension for 30 years after working only 26 years. Taxpayers are on the hook for the resulting $17.2-billion deficit in the teachers’ pension plan.

Ted McMeekin • Liberal

First, let me welcome all of our students back to school and thank all of our teachers for the important work that they do.

Education has always been a priority for me and I am so proud to be a part of a government that understands its significance.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.” It is my goal to continue with the great progress we have made in education in Ontario, and that includes ensuring our students have safe and modern classrooms.

Our plan has been to build new schools and expand others. Province-wide, we have invested over $7 billion in school infrastructure. We’ve built more than 400 new schools, with 150 more planned or under way. We’ve also helped more than 2,300 schools become more energy efficient and installed 135 projects utilizing renewable energy technologies. In total, more than 19,000 school renewal projects, which include replacing roofs, windows and boilers, have been completed or are under way in schools across the province. This will save our schools money over the long-term.

In Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, we have built four new schools. William Osler Public School, Ancaster Meadows Public School, Immaculate Conception Catholic School, and Bishop Tonnos High School are already open.

Guy Brown Elementary School is open and construction is nearly complete, and there are plans for a new St. Thomas Catholic Elementary School. The addition to Waterdown District High School is also under way.

We have also invested in green projects at our local schools: St. Mary Catholic Secondary School received $61,840 for a wind power project; Our Lady of Carmel Catholic Elementary School in Carlisle received a $20,000 grant to recycle rain water for school use; and Waterdown District High School has a solar panel rooftop project, which is funded through a renewable energy grant of $816,000. Students will be able to use cellphone apps to see the power generated by the solar panels once the project is complete.

All this is in addition to our investments in teachers, reducing class sizes, full-day kindergarten, new computer labs, and so much more. In fact, our public schools are now ranked the best in the English-speaking world (McKinsey & Co.,  Nov. 2010).

Our progress stands in sharp contrast to the PC party, which closed more than 500 schools while cutting $2 billion from education and throwing the system into chaos. The NDP have presented no plan for education and made just one mention of schools in their entire platform.

I will continue to be an advocate for this community with investments in our schools and in turn our future. I look forward to building on the progress to date by continuing to invest in school infrastructure as we move our education system forward.”

FLAMBOROUGH VOTES: Candidates speak out on aging schools

News Sep 08, 2011 Flamborough Review

This week’s question, penned by Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board

trustee Karen Turkstra (wards 14-15) and posed to the

Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale provincial candidates, centres on

education:

“Public education is the second largest line item in the

provincial budget. The average age of schools in the HWDSB is over 50

years old and many are desperate for school renewal capital funds that

will better align the students with the needs of 21st century learning

and work world readiness in the global market (updated science labs,

technology pods, graphic design centres etc, not to mention the boilers,

roofs and windows). What are your capital funding

strategies/commitments that will address the school renewal deficits in

Ontario?”

Trevor Westerhoff • NDP

The current education funding model is outdated and is not meeting the needs of Ontario students.

In the last eight years, parents and students have experienced school closures, increased fees and fewer educational supports and opportunities. Ontario’s New Democrats would stand up for properly funded elementary schools. We would limit parent fees, reduce the need for fundraising appeals and enforce the ban on course fees.

We would conduct a long-needed, complete review of the education funding formula and establish a Rural School Stabilization Strategy, which will protect public schools at threat of closure and consolidation in rural areas. We must ensure that the province’s schools are adequately funded to provide students the programs and services they need to thrive and succeed.

Donna Skelly • Progressive Conservative

The goal of our education system is to provide every student with the tools they need to do their best in life and to prepare them to join Ontario’s workplace.

Dalton McGuinty’s priorities for education are putting cellphones in the classroom, banning chocolate milk and teaching sex education to six-year-olds.

We will increase spending on education by $2 billion every year, fight to keep small schools open and root out waste in our bloated school board bureaucracies.

We will implement full-day kindergarten for all schools. We will free the teachers to teach; they will be able to ban cellphones in their classroom, teach phonics and hand out marks free from pressure to inflate grades.

At its best, education is the great opportunity builder, giving  kids from all different types of families an equal start in life.

We will make it even better.

Erik Coverdale • Green Party

What better way to align students and our community with the needs of the 21st century than engaging them early in the green economy?

School buildings could benefit significantly from green upgrades that would generate long-term, sustainable savings on energy bills. Many schools are already doing this by participating in the FIT program. I personally installed a small wind turbine at a ‘green school’ in Lively, Ontario where the project serves to inspire youth as well as generate clean energy.

The massive savings in energy costs create a return on investment so lucrative we would be crazy not to pursue the projects – and we get green jobs out of the deal right away!  

Why not engage students in the process? Integrate sustainable design into the graphic design courses. Let's get the science students involved in looking at green alternatives, evaluating new technologies and making recommendations.

We could start by sharing best practices between the school boards and showing our community that we know how to optimize our use of resources. Additionally, we would work on expanding the success of the Toronto school model that brought in private business to repair and renovate the roof infrastructure in return for using the rooftop for a solar panel installation.

The Green Party recognizes that many schools are in desperate need of funding for renovations and repairs as well as new facilities. We want our schools to be well funded to ensure our students have the best educational experience possible. Ontario’s schools will be one of the greatest beneficiaries of our green tax-shifting policy. Thanks to this new budget, Ontario students will finally get the top-notch education they deserve.

Glenn Langton • Libertarian

The need to ask this question raises more, important questions, the most glaring being:  why is there a need for further funding?  

Education is “the second largest line item in the provincial budget” – with a budget of $125 billion. The sector has seen a 63 per cent budget increase over eight years plus the ongoing taxation pillage of the amalgamated regions.

Where has the money gone? Where has it been going for the last 40 years?

Why have the science labs, technology pods, graphic design centres etc., not to mention the boilers, roofs and windows not been upgraded on an ongoing basis?   

I submit that lack of money is not the problem, but the government’s virtual monopoly on education is.

The Ministry of Education, the regional boards, the district boards, the municipal boards, and finally the teachers, salaries, pensions and benefits –  not to mention their union dues to one of the most influential and wealthy unions in the province – this is where the money is going rather than being spent on the schools, educational materials, technologies, maintenance, etc.

The way to fix this is twofold:

In the short-term, reduce the size, scope, salaries and frivolous spending of the inefficient, “top down” model we have now and divert those funds directly to immediately required improvements.

In the long-term, we would allow choice to the people of Ontario, by fostering a healthy private school alternative that will breathe competition into the education system.

Allowing parents to opt out of the public system by means of tax credits or a voucher system, we would create a healthy, cost effective private system that would be in direct competition for students, teachers and the dollars associated. Competition would drive down costs and drive up the level of education in both systems by encouraging them to provide the best education per dollar or lose enrolment to another facility.

Robert Maton • Family Coalition Party

Voters in Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough and Westdale tell me that both a balanced Ontario budget and a highly educated workforce are crucial to Ontario’s economy. New strategies are needed to finance school infrastructure and equipment, while keeping costs under control.

Under the McGuinty government, spending has escalated dreadfully. At the end of 2009-10, Ontario had long-term debt of $236.6 billion and total liabilities of $282 billion. The deficit was $19.3 billion, and this year, there will be an additional $14 billion.

When interest rates on the debt begin to rise from their current record lows, Ontario will be in even deeper trouble.

The only way to pay off growing government debt and interest costs is through higher taxes.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada estimates the cost of full-day kindergarten at an additional $1.8 billion annually when fully implemented.

The Family Coalition Party would do the following:

• Since the centralized budgeting process is wasteful and ignores family input, reduce school board administration costs and transfer more responsibility for local budgets to principals, school staff, and families to set priorities with available funds.

• In teaching fields where equipment costs are high, encourage schools to specialize, and help students travel to schools where their education needs will be met.

• Promote more partnerships with industries and businesses who can provide expertise, training, and access to technology at reduced costs.

• Stagger the school day so that expensive equipment and infrastructure do not sit idle.

• Hold the line on teachers’ salaries and pensions. On average, teachers now draw a pension for 30 years after working only 26 years. Taxpayers are on the hook for the resulting $17.2-billion deficit in the teachers’ pension plan.

Ted McMeekin • Liberal

First, let me welcome all of our students back to school and thank all of our teachers for the important work that they do.

Education has always been a priority for me and I am so proud to be a part of a government that understands its significance.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.” It is my goal to continue with the great progress we have made in education in Ontario, and that includes ensuring our students have safe and modern classrooms.

Our plan has been to build new schools and expand others. Province-wide, we have invested over $7 billion in school infrastructure. We’ve built more than 400 new schools, with 150 more planned or under way. We’ve also helped more than 2,300 schools become more energy efficient and installed 135 projects utilizing renewable energy technologies. In total, more than 19,000 school renewal projects, which include replacing roofs, windows and boilers, have been completed or are under way in schools across the province. This will save our schools money over the long-term.

In Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, we have built four new schools. William Osler Public School, Ancaster Meadows Public School, Immaculate Conception Catholic School, and Bishop Tonnos High School are already open.

Guy Brown Elementary School is open and construction is nearly complete, and there are plans for a new St. Thomas Catholic Elementary School. The addition to Waterdown District High School is also under way.

We have also invested in green projects at our local schools: St. Mary Catholic Secondary School received $61,840 for a wind power project; Our Lady of Carmel Catholic Elementary School in Carlisle received a $20,000 grant to recycle rain water for school use; and Waterdown District High School has a solar panel rooftop project, which is funded through a renewable energy grant of $816,000. Students will be able to use cellphone apps to see the power generated by the solar panels once the project is complete.

All this is in addition to our investments in teachers, reducing class sizes, full-day kindergarten, new computer labs, and so much more. In fact, our public schools are now ranked the best in the English-speaking world (McKinsey & Co.,  Nov. 2010).

Our progress stands in sharp contrast to the PC party, which closed more than 500 schools while cutting $2 billion from education and throwing the system into chaos. The NDP have presented no plan for education and made just one mention of schools in their entire platform.

I will continue to be an advocate for this community with investments in our schools and in turn our future. I look forward to building on the progress to date by continuing to invest in school infrastructure as we move our education system forward.”

FLAMBOROUGH VOTES: Candidates speak out on aging schools

News Sep 08, 2011 Flamborough Review

This week’s question, penned by Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board

trustee Karen Turkstra (wards 14-15) and posed to the

Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale provincial candidates, centres on

education:

“Public education is the second largest line item in the

provincial budget. The average age of schools in the HWDSB is over 50

years old and many are desperate for school renewal capital funds that

will better align the students with the needs of 21st century learning

and work world readiness in the global market (updated science labs,

technology pods, graphic design centres etc, not to mention the boilers,

roofs and windows). What are your capital funding

strategies/commitments that will address the school renewal deficits in

Ontario?”

Trevor Westerhoff • NDP

The current education funding model is outdated and is not meeting the needs of Ontario students.

In the last eight years, parents and students have experienced school closures, increased fees and fewer educational supports and opportunities. Ontario’s New Democrats would stand up for properly funded elementary schools. We would limit parent fees, reduce the need for fundraising appeals and enforce the ban on course fees.

We would conduct a long-needed, complete review of the education funding formula and establish a Rural School Stabilization Strategy, which will protect public schools at threat of closure and consolidation in rural areas. We must ensure that the province’s schools are adequately funded to provide students the programs and services they need to thrive and succeed.

Donna Skelly • Progressive Conservative

The goal of our education system is to provide every student with the tools they need to do their best in life and to prepare them to join Ontario’s workplace.

Dalton McGuinty’s priorities for education are putting cellphones in the classroom, banning chocolate milk and teaching sex education to six-year-olds.

We will increase spending on education by $2 billion every year, fight to keep small schools open and root out waste in our bloated school board bureaucracies.

We will implement full-day kindergarten for all schools. We will free the teachers to teach; they will be able to ban cellphones in their classroom, teach phonics and hand out marks free from pressure to inflate grades.

At its best, education is the great opportunity builder, giving  kids from all different types of families an equal start in life.

We will make it even better.

Erik Coverdale • Green Party

What better way to align students and our community with the needs of the 21st century than engaging them early in the green economy?

School buildings could benefit significantly from green upgrades that would generate long-term, sustainable savings on energy bills. Many schools are already doing this by participating in the FIT program. I personally installed a small wind turbine at a ‘green school’ in Lively, Ontario where the project serves to inspire youth as well as generate clean energy.

The massive savings in energy costs create a return on investment so lucrative we would be crazy not to pursue the projects – and we get green jobs out of the deal right away!  

Why not engage students in the process? Integrate sustainable design into the graphic design courses. Let's get the science students involved in looking at green alternatives, evaluating new technologies and making recommendations.

We could start by sharing best practices between the school boards and showing our community that we know how to optimize our use of resources. Additionally, we would work on expanding the success of the Toronto school model that brought in private business to repair and renovate the roof infrastructure in return for using the rooftop for a solar panel installation.

The Green Party recognizes that many schools are in desperate need of funding for renovations and repairs as well as new facilities. We want our schools to be well funded to ensure our students have the best educational experience possible. Ontario’s schools will be one of the greatest beneficiaries of our green tax-shifting policy. Thanks to this new budget, Ontario students will finally get the top-notch education they deserve.

Glenn Langton • Libertarian

The need to ask this question raises more, important questions, the most glaring being:  why is there a need for further funding?  

Education is “the second largest line item in the provincial budget” – with a budget of $125 billion. The sector has seen a 63 per cent budget increase over eight years plus the ongoing taxation pillage of the amalgamated regions.

Where has the money gone? Where has it been going for the last 40 years?

Why have the science labs, technology pods, graphic design centres etc., not to mention the boilers, roofs and windows not been upgraded on an ongoing basis?   

I submit that lack of money is not the problem, but the government’s virtual monopoly on education is.

The Ministry of Education, the regional boards, the district boards, the municipal boards, and finally the teachers, salaries, pensions and benefits –  not to mention their union dues to one of the most influential and wealthy unions in the province – this is where the money is going rather than being spent on the schools, educational materials, technologies, maintenance, etc.

The way to fix this is twofold:

In the short-term, reduce the size, scope, salaries and frivolous spending of the inefficient, “top down” model we have now and divert those funds directly to immediately required improvements.

In the long-term, we would allow choice to the people of Ontario, by fostering a healthy private school alternative that will breathe competition into the education system.

Allowing parents to opt out of the public system by means of tax credits or a voucher system, we would create a healthy, cost effective private system that would be in direct competition for students, teachers and the dollars associated. Competition would drive down costs and drive up the level of education in both systems by encouraging them to provide the best education per dollar or lose enrolment to another facility.

Robert Maton • Family Coalition Party

Voters in Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough and Westdale tell me that both a balanced Ontario budget and a highly educated workforce are crucial to Ontario’s economy. New strategies are needed to finance school infrastructure and equipment, while keeping costs under control.

Under the McGuinty government, spending has escalated dreadfully. At the end of 2009-10, Ontario had long-term debt of $236.6 billion and total liabilities of $282 billion. The deficit was $19.3 billion, and this year, there will be an additional $14 billion.

When interest rates on the debt begin to rise from their current record lows, Ontario will be in even deeper trouble.

The only way to pay off growing government debt and interest costs is through higher taxes.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada estimates the cost of full-day kindergarten at an additional $1.8 billion annually when fully implemented.

The Family Coalition Party would do the following:

• Since the centralized budgeting process is wasteful and ignores family input, reduce school board administration costs and transfer more responsibility for local budgets to principals, school staff, and families to set priorities with available funds.

• In teaching fields where equipment costs are high, encourage schools to specialize, and help students travel to schools where their education needs will be met.

• Promote more partnerships with industries and businesses who can provide expertise, training, and access to technology at reduced costs.

• Stagger the school day so that expensive equipment and infrastructure do not sit idle.

• Hold the line on teachers’ salaries and pensions. On average, teachers now draw a pension for 30 years after working only 26 years. Taxpayers are on the hook for the resulting $17.2-billion deficit in the teachers’ pension plan.

Ted McMeekin • Liberal

First, let me welcome all of our students back to school and thank all of our teachers for the important work that they do.

Education has always been a priority for me and I am so proud to be a part of a government that understands its significance.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.” It is my goal to continue with the great progress we have made in education in Ontario, and that includes ensuring our students have safe and modern classrooms.

Our plan has been to build new schools and expand others. Province-wide, we have invested over $7 billion in school infrastructure. We’ve built more than 400 new schools, with 150 more planned or under way. We’ve also helped more than 2,300 schools become more energy efficient and installed 135 projects utilizing renewable energy technologies. In total, more than 19,000 school renewal projects, which include replacing roofs, windows and boilers, have been completed or are under way in schools across the province. This will save our schools money over the long-term.

In Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, we have built four new schools. William Osler Public School, Ancaster Meadows Public School, Immaculate Conception Catholic School, and Bishop Tonnos High School are already open.

Guy Brown Elementary School is open and construction is nearly complete, and there are plans for a new St. Thomas Catholic Elementary School. The addition to Waterdown District High School is also under way.

We have also invested in green projects at our local schools: St. Mary Catholic Secondary School received $61,840 for a wind power project; Our Lady of Carmel Catholic Elementary School in Carlisle received a $20,000 grant to recycle rain water for school use; and Waterdown District High School has a solar panel rooftop project, which is funded through a renewable energy grant of $816,000. Students will be able to use cellphone apps to see the power generated by the solar panels once the project is complete.

All this is in addition to our investments in teachers, reducing class sizes, full-day kindergarten, new computer labs, and so much more. In fact, our public schools are now ranked the best in the English-speaking world (McKinsey & Co.,  Nov. 2010).

Our progress stands in sharp contrast to the PC party, which closed more than 500 schools while cutting $2 billion from education and throwing the system into chaos. The NDP have presented no plan for education and made just one mention of schools in their entire platform.

I will continue to be an advocate for this community with investments in our schools and in turn our future. I look forward to building on the progress to date by continuing to invest in school infrastructure as we move our education system forward.”