A new study shows that Ontario could save up to $1.9 billion annually by changing its school system.
A report by the Fraser Institute suggests British Columbia’s K-to-12 education model could be the way to go. Western grad Deani Van Pelt, one of the researchers behind the study, says the report was prompted by Ontario’s increasing debt — which, as of March 2014, was pegged at $269.3 billion.
“We said, there has to be a way for the funds to be spent in a more responsible manner, that recognizes that we’re serving fewer students and spending so much more,” Van Pelt says.
In turn, the researchers looked to B.C.’s model, in which Catholic schools are only partially-funded. If Ontario were to follow suit, Catholic schools would receive government grants covering up to half of what their local school boards give out per student. Public schools would still be fully-funded.
Still, Van Pelt notes that the issue is much broader than whether or not Catholic school boards are deserving of funding, and how much. Instead, she says that it’s time for Ontario to look at its fiscal policies and make significant changes.
“Not just tinkering, but look at full-scale reform that can help us to get back to a more appropriate, fiscally-balanced situation in this province,” says Van Pelt. “Since we know that our international student rankings are declining, if we can come up with a model that’s already existent in this country that promises lower spending and higher performance, it’s something that we’ve got to look at.”