Ontario government cuts millions of dollars in student programming

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Ontario government cuts millions of dollars in student programming
Ontario Premier Rob Ford chats with Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc during the first ministers meeting in Montreal on Friday, December 7, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

TORONTO  The Ontario government says it is slashing millions of dollars in funding for programs that are aimed at providing students with extra skills and support.

The Ministry of Education says the province’s 72 school boards were notified that $25 million in cuts were made after the government reviewed the “Education Programs – Other” fund and found that the fund has a “track record of wasteful spending.”

The fund, which will now total $400 million for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, provides students with a range of programs and supports such as tutors, leadership programming as well as French and Indigenous programming.

The ministry says the cuts will affect each school board differently, as the boards don’t all provide the same programs under the fund.

An email sent to school boards Friday contains a list of programs that will see their funding reduced or cancelled. The cancellations include programs that provide tutors in classrooms, and extra services for Indigenous and otherwise racialized students.

Maria Rizzo, chair of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, says she was “blindsided” by the funding cuts and worries how special needs students in her board will be affected.