Queen's Park - Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner is calling for the Liberal government to immediately make funds available so that kids with special needs can go to school every day.
"It is unacceptable for the Liberals to fail kids with special needs when the money is there,” said Schreiner. “Right now we are wasting it on duplicate services and empty chairs. If Ontario ended school segregation and merged the public and Catholic boards, we could save more than $1 billion a year.”
According to a study conducted by People for Education, 49% of school principals have asked parents to keep children with special needs at home, mainly because schools are under-staffed.
In elementary schools there is only one special education teacher per 37 students with special needs. In high schools the number falls to one for every 74 students.
“I have to say I’m ashamed. How can we be failing these kids in this way?” said Schreiner. “I’m not even sure it’s legal,” he added. The Education Act requires that children attend school unless they are ill.
For many years, the GPO has called for the merger of the Catholic and public school boards into one English board and one French board. The cost savings of this merger could fund special education needs, protect communities from school closures, and address persistent human rights concerns.