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Rickford Unveils Record Education Investment to Help Students of Kenora – Rainy River

KENORA–RAINY RIVER – The Ontario government announced record funding of $26.6 billion for the 2022-23 school year, including over $216 million for school boards serving families of Kenora – Rainy River following two years of global learning disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will support learning recovery and fund mental health supports for students to allow a return to a more normal school year next year.

As part of the announcement, Education Minister Stephen Lecce unveiled Ontario’s Learning Recovery Action Plan – a five-point plan to strengthen learning recovery in reading and math, anchored by the largest provincial investment in tutoring supports, summer learning and mental health.

“Nothing is more important than getting Ontario students back on track as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.” said Greg Rickford, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kenora-Rainy River. “These pivotal investments will guarantee that students in Kenora-Rainy River have access to top tier supports needed to reach their full potential. Reaffirming our government’s steadfast commitment to mental health, we will also be providing additional resources to ensure students feel safe and supported at school.”

For students in Kenora – Rainy River, GSN funding will total over $216 million allocated to the following five school boards:

  • $87,358,990 for Keewatin Patricia District School Board
  • $29,372,565 for Kenora Catholic District School Board
  • $26,237,057 for Northwest Catholic District School Board
  • $45,681,122 for Rainy River District School Board
  • $27,974,503 Conseil scolaire de district catholique des Aurores boréales

“The early release of the Grants for Student Needs will help us plan for September, which we hope will be a return to regular learning, normal school routines and activities,” said Paul White, Director of Education for Kenora Catholic District School Board. “The funding for student learning recovery, special education, mental health and well-being are essential as we support our students emotionally, spiritually, and academically as we all recover from the disruptions caused by the pandemic.”

“We are so grateful for the increase in funding for the 2022-2023 school year, particularly as the Grants for Student Needs and accompanying Priorities and Partnerships Funding recognize the challenges faced by Northern school boards during the pandemic,” said Heather Campbell, Director of Education, Rainy River District School Board. “From targeted funding to assist students with special needs, increased emphasis on the skilled trades and pathways, to ongoing funding for Anishinaabemodaa, the Ojibwe Language Strategy, an initiative in partnership with Seven Generations Education Institute and SayItFirst, we are pleased with the ongoing support for our students, our schools, and our communities.”

“We are thrilled that our students will benefit from additional funding to enhance their education,” said Lucie Allaire, Director of Education, Conseil scolaire de district catholique des Aurores boréales. “As we begin to focus on closing the performance gap accentuated during the pandemic, our students deserve all the additional educational, mental health and well-being support available.”

“We were very pleased to hear the announcement that funding will continue to address much needed additional student supports required due to effects of learning disruption/recovery, cohorting and other safety measures, increased need for student mental health supports, and early interventions for students with special education support needs,” said Jackie Robinson, Director of Education, The Northwest Catholic District School Board. “These continued and additional funds will ensure we can retain the staffing and programming already in place at our schools, and will assist the Northwest Catholic District School Board to ensure that we are able to place additional supports in targeted areas of need.”

“No government in Ontario history has invested more in public education, tutoring supports, mental health, and special education than ours led by Premier Ford,” said Minister Lecce. “We are bridging learning gaps that have emerged over the past years through a massive increase in small group tutoring programs and through the expansion of mental health supports to benefit children across all schools in Ontario.”

The Ontario Government’s $600 million Learning Recovery Action Plan will help students recover from the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be available to students this year and into next school year. $175 million is being invested to expand access to free publicly funded tutoring in small groups after school, during school, on weekends and over the summer. This province-wide program will start in April 2022 and continue until December 31, 2022 to ensure continuity of access to tutoring to ensure students can catch-up as they start the next school year.

The plan leverages and expands proven, high-yield programs and supports, and introduces new initiatives to address critical gaps, with the following five pillars:

  • Introducing comprehensive tutoring supports for students through school boards that will also include partnerships with community organizations
  • Supporting student resilience and mental well being
  • Strengthening numeracy and literacy skills
  • Modernizing curriculum and programs to emphasize job and life skills
  • Resuming EQAO assessments to measure and assess learning levels

As part of its commitment to support student mental health and well-being in 2022-23, Ontario will be investing more than $90 million including $10 million in new funding, of which $5 million is to be used for evidence based mental health programs and resources. This funding will help to retain the existing mental health workers in schools, including the 180 mental health professionals that are providing critical supports directly to students in secondary schools across the province.

QUICK FACTS:

  • The Ministry of Education provides operating funding to Ontario’s 72 district school boards and 10 school authorities through the annual GSN education funding model. Funding to school boards is provided on a combination of per-student, per-school, and per-board basis.
  • Since August 2020, more than $600 million has been allocated to improve ventilation and filtration in schools as part of the province’s efforts to protect against COVID-19. These investments have resulted in improvements to existing ventilation systems; deployment of over 70,000 HEPA filter units and other ventilation devices to schools, with an additional 3,000 HEPA units being provided; upgrades to school ventilation infrastructure; and increased transparency through public posting of school board standardized ventilation measure reports.
  • As part of the government’s ongoing efforts to improve and modernize infrastructure, Ontario announced over $565 million in the 2021-22 school year to build 26 new schools and 20 permanent additions to existing schools, which will create new construction jobs and provide nearly 20,000 new student spaces across the province once complete.
  • In recognition of increasing demands for digital learning in the classroom and increased network capacity, Ontario will be investing an additional $40 million in the 2022-23 GSN, to support the cost of associated with network connectivity, infrastructure, security and related operations in schools and school board buildings as usage increases and technology evolves.
  • Under the Broadband Modernization Program, all schools across Ontario are equipped to provide adequate, reliable access to all students for online learning.

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