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Ontario NDP calls on government to boost funding for school reopenings

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Ontario NDP calls on government to boost funding for school reopenings

BRAMPTON, Ont. — Ontario’s official Opposition is renewing calls for the government to increase education funding so schools can safely reopen in September.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath made the comments at a press conference in Brampton, Ont., on Friday.

She says students should be in class full time, but argues schools will need an infusion of cash in order to let students return safely.

Horwath says the province should provide money so that students can maintain enough physical distance to protect against COVID-19.

On Thursday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the province would unveil its school reopening plan next week, which he says will include “additional supports and resources to enable our boards to succeed.”

But Horwath contends that won’t come soon enough, saying that if she were in charge, she’d already be hiring teachers and looking for extra classroom space.

“During this pandemic, parents have been doing the superhuman work of juggling parenting, working from home and supporting kids with at-home learning,” Horwath said. “Knowing how incredibly difficult that’s been, I’m shocked that Doug Ford appears not to be taking any action at all to get enough safe, small classrooms ready so every child can go back to school in the fall.”

School boards have been sounding the alarm about the cost of reopening, with the chair of the Halton District School Board saying that as it stands, it could cost the organization $2 million per month just for masks.

Andrea Grebenc said her schools simply can’t operate full-time with the funding that has currently been promised by the provincial government. The province has only committed to $56 million in extra funding provincewide, she said, which would leave her board with less than a million dollars if the funding were split equally.

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