May 5, 2005
Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges):
My question is to the Premier. Premier, last week, I asked a
question in the House of the Minister of Education and also of the Chair
of Management Board with regard to all of these announcements relating
to a framework for teachers' settlements. The question that I specifically
put at the time was, "Will you guarantee that the funding for teachers'
salaries will not come out of other envelopes within the education budget?"
I didn't get an answer then, but
what I did find out yesterday was that one board, the York Region Board,
is now in negotiations with those who provide transportation to the students
to clawback 5% of their budget. This, at a time when they're already calling
for additional funding just to secure the safety of those children who
are being transported.
Premier, can you confirm today
that that is, in fact, part of your strategy, that other envelopes are
going to be robbed-
The Speaker (Hon. Alvin
Curling): Thank you.
Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier,
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): The member opposite
is just really, really stretching on this one. It takes a lot of creativity
to turn what is an absolutely wonderful news story for Ontario students
into something negative.
If things work out-there's still
some work left to be done and, finally, it's up to the teachers-we're
about to bring to bear something that's never happened before in the province
of Ontario: four-year contracts that will allow peace and stability to
reign supreme in our schools.
We're proud of the investment we're
making in public education: $1.1 billion. I'd ask the member opposite,
how is he bringing comfort to parents who may be watching this today,
when he and his leader are committed to investing in private schools?
How does that lend comfort to parents who are committed to public education?
Mr. Klees: Premier,
I don't believe that any parent watching your answer today is getting
any level of comfort from what you believe is important about the safety
of their children who are being transported in buses. Some 200 companies,
transporting over 800,000 students every day, are at your doorstep, appealing
I have a letter here addressed
to the Minister of Education- "Despite my personal note of January 14,
2005 and three unanswered telephone calls to your office, we have heard
nothing." This is from the Ontario School Bus Association that wants to
talk to you about a lack of funding to ensure the safe transportation
You have avoided my question. Parents
watching are wondering about your credibility. What is it that you're
going to do about this incredible conflict you're facing: Doling out billions
on one hand and-
Hon. Mr. McGuinty:
Just so we have the facts straight here, this past year we increased funding
for buses and school transportation by $685 million. That's a 5.1% increase.
Every single school board in Ontario received more transportation funding
this year, at least 2% and as much as 12%.
The member may be interested in
learning that the York School Board transit funding went up by $570,000
this past year. So I'd ask him, I would encourage him, to take a close
look at the facts and to understand that our commitment on behalf of Ontario
public schools is to invest, not only in better-quality education, but
at the same time continue to invest in good-quality transportation for
Transportation Services of York Region
Ontario School Bus Association
Compliments of Ontario School
this article offers a quick
explanation of who's responsible for what level of governance when transporting
our students to school.
visit the office of
Klees, MPP May 6th, 2005