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Press Releases 2004

                                                                                      November 18, 2004

Klees questions Education Minister: Who's in charge?

(Queen's Park) Frank Klees, MPP for Oak Ridges, today demanded that the Minister of Education end the chaos and confusion surrounding the fate of funds raised by parents and school councils.  

Recently announced government accounting guidelines will require school boards to report   funds raised by school councils and parents fundraising efforts, as revenues of the board.

"There is wide-spread confusion across the province about this new requirement," said Klees. "Fears are being expressed that this will become general revenue for the schools, that parents will have no say over how this money is spent and that school principals will have control and veto power over parent-raised funds.   Some schools are simply declining to comply, while other schools have actually closed school council bank accounts.   The parents who worked hard to fundraise for their schools deserve to know exactly what the impact of this new policy will be."

In response to Klees' request that the Minister provide assurance to parents that school councils initiatives could not be vetoed by principals and that they would retain control over their funds, the Minister refused in his response in the Legislature to give that assurance.

"With the uncertainty and confusion that still exists, it is quite obvious that no definitive answers have been provided to our parents and school councils," said Klees.   "The Minister has an obligation to respond to the concerns being raised across Ontario about these funds. He continues to hide behind platitudes and vague assurances that parents will not lose control of the money they raised,   while parents at local levels are being told exactly the opposite.   This is simply unacceptable."

Klees advised Kennedy that some parents have stopped fundraising until they can be assured of direct parental control over how those funds are spent.   He cited examples in Niagara, Hamilton-Wentworth and Ottawa-Carleton where parent and school council bank accounts have been closed and non-compliance is under serious consideration.

"The Minister should show the respect to the parents and school councils that they deserve, and provide them the answers they are seeking," added Klees.

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For further information:

Frank Klees, MPP