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TDSB after school, tutoring program grants cancelled by Ontario government

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The Toronto District School Board says as a result of the Ontario government’s $25-million cut to specialized education grants, it has lost funding for several programs, including after school and tutoring programs.

“We’re disappointed to learn of these cuts as many of the program/funding cancellations were aimed at helping youth-at-risk,” a statement from the TDSB said on Friday.

“The Board’s experience has been that these programs make a positive difference. We continue to be concerned that any cuts made in the middle of the school year may negatively impact our students.”

READ MORE: Ford government slashing $25 million in funding for education programs

According to the statement, Board officials said they estimate $744,500 in funding will be lost. The following programs and funds will be affected:

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– $263,200 for the Focus on Youth after school program (aimed at providing employment for youth in priority neighbourhoods), 75 students won’t be hired
– $137,615 for re-engagement 12-12+ (for youth who left school to return and complete diploma requirements)
– $119,790 for pilots on ensuring equitable access to post-secondary education (helps students prepare and submit applications)
– $109,500 for the Innovation in Learning fund (professional development for principals and vice principals, digital leader focused)
– $64,395 in daily physical education funding for elementary schools
– $35,000 for the Tutors in the Classroom program (post-secondary tutors for students), 52 tutors won’t be hired
– $15,000 for the Indigenous Focused Collaborative Inquiry (professional development for teachers)

The TDSB said the cost figures are based on the 2017-2018 funding level and agreements for this school year weren’t agreed to. The Board said Ontario Ministry of Education officials advised against proceeding with the programs “pending further notice.”

The statement noted many programs will continue, but the funding amounts aren’t known yet.

READ MORE: Ford government cuts funding to Ontario Arts Council, impacting Indigenous Culture Fund

Last week, a spokeswoman for Education Minister Lisa Thompson said $25 million was slashed from the budget after the government reviewed the “Education Programs – Other” fund.

“Despite only accounting for less than one per cent of school board funding, this fund has a long track record of wasteful spending, overspending and millions of dollars of unfunded commitments,” Kayla Iafelice said in an emailed statement.

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The cuts will affect each of the province’s 72 school boards differently, as the boards don’t all provide the same programs under the fund, Iafelice said.

— With files from The Canadian Press