Rural and Remote Education Review
On June 16, we provided our submission regarding this review based on the feedback from our membership. On June 28, Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter announced a “Plan to Strengthen Rural and Northern Education.” The Minister was joined by the three parliamentary assistants who had participated in the recent engagement sessions; Grant Crack, Granville Anderson and Lou Rinaldi. Key points of the plan for school boards are:
- The launch of a new Rural and Northern Education Fund to be used for local priorities; and
- An upcoming review of the current Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) Guideline – no new PARs to begin until the review and any changes are made. Exceptions are for those that support joint use projects. We expect the review to begin next fall.
The additional funds and focus will help the needs of our rural and remote school communities. However, we will continue to advocate for all school boards who are doing their best to deliver quality programming while facing financial challenges, aging infrastructure and declining enrolment.
Ombudsman Annual Report 2016-17
On June 27, 2017, Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé released his office’s Annual Report – the first in his five-year term which began April 1, 2016. The report includes a breakdown of the number of cases per school system and by each board. In total, 945 cases about school boards were received in 2016-2017 with the top five topics being transportation, staff/trustee conduct, special education, student safety and school closings/accommodation reviews. An overview of the cases and trends in school boards can be found beginning on page 43 and the individual statistics are on page 70.
Joint School Board Submission to the Ontario Human Rights Commission
On June 29, 2017, OPSBA, along with the other three school board associations, sent a submission to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) regarding an upcoming review of the OHRC’s Guidelines on Accessible Education.