Friday, June 24, 2011

Reading into the next 10 years

The Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure released its 10-year plan for infrastructure growth in the province earlier today.
Of particular interest to me (of course) was the section on education. The overwhelming theme I keep hearing in this part of the province, which echoes my own suspicions, is that after the current round of school-closure reviews is completed, there will be next to nothing available for school boards to do capital improvements to schools not related to implementing the full-day kindergarten program.
I liked this chart, which I've embedded off the online report's page. Enrolment vs. investment in capital.

To quote from the report:
Moving forward
Over the next 10 years, Ontario will work with school boards to:
  • Ensure a system of elementary and secondary schools that meets present and future needs.
  • Continue capital investment to support underserved French-language rights-holders.
  • Base renewal funding decisions on school condition assessments and asset management plans, and work towards setting state-of-good-repair targets. This change will enable school boards to undertake projects to address the backlog of repairs in the most cost-effective way.
So this means more French-language schools in communities that have the demand for them -- mine is included as the board is about to open a brand-spanking-new K-12 facility for approximately 350 students. The province is in the midst of updating its databases on school condition assessments and boards have been working on these elements as well as they submit their business cases for capital funding to the ministry.
Consolidations and closures will likely still exist in the education vocabulary. This also shows a focus on modernizing learning spaces, recognition there's still a lot of school buildings out there built in the 1950s and early 1960s that have been superceded by more modern learning spaces that are more amenable to the tools teachers and students use inside and outside the classroom today.