Is Halton Getting Some New Schools?
It's true that Halton has an abundance of schools, but we also have a diverse and growing population, and perhaps that means we need more schools to support it.
Recently, the province announced that 39 brand new schools are coming to communities across Ontario, and 40 existing schools are getting major renovations and additions. Some of those schools could be right here in Halton.
According to the province, all of these upgrades aim to create "better, modern learning environments."
Back in fall of 2017, 54 major renovations, additions, and new schools opened in communities across Ontario, and in 2018, Ontario is investing $784 million in 79 new and renovated schools. The investment will also cover more than 2,700 new and licensed child care spaces for children aged 0-4.
“Ontario has nearly 5,000 school buildings, the average age of which is 38 years old. Some of these buildings date back to the 1800s and early 1900s,” the Ministry of Education said in a report. “These schools are a proud part of our province’s heritage, but as you can imagine, the older a building is, the higher its repair and renewal needs will likely be.”
As for some background information on repairing Ontario’s schools, there’s a system to keep track of which schools need which repairs. Ontario’s ministry of education evaluates all publicly-funded schools and ranks them using a Facility Condition Index (FCI). As the ministry explains, the FCI is a warehouse of data on each and every school’s state of repair and information on schools is gathered in five year cycles.
Many schools are aging in Halton, and the FCI ratings for a handful of Halton institutions are considered poor. That said, it’s important to note that this rating only reflects repair needs, it does not mean that the schools are providing a lacklustre educational experience or that they are unsafe.
Some schools with poor ratings include Central PS (35 per cent), Gladys Speers PS (31 per cent), Martin Street PS (26 per cent) and more, which you can find here.
Hopefully, some ongoing renovation projects will make their way to Halton to amp up the ratings of some of the schools on the FCI that are considered poor.
Improving schools is, of course, an ongoing process. Since 2003, the province has injected $18.3 billion into more than 860 new schools and more than 840 additions and renovations.
Overall, new schools and repairs to existing schools might be incredibly helpful to the education system here and now in Halton.