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Speak up

Dear Duane,

Having just seen the very informative Fort Frances Times article (July 3/19, School Board Passes Budget) about local education funding cuts, I need to plainly state something that is increasingly evident—MPP Greg Rickford isn't being straight with the facts.

37.73 jobs have been lost locally—this means fewer teachers, student support people, and other school staff for our children. RRDSB doesn't qualify for the promised attrition funding but still, Mr. Rickford continues to insist that “no involuntary job losses will occur” (CKDR Jul 2/19).

Here are the facts: our school board has experienced pronounced cuts including loss of the local priorities fund and reduced per-student funding, along with increased cost-of-living.

Remember also that adjustments must be made to exclude new items identified as “education” dollars (such as daycare) when comparing prior year to current year figures.)

How can Mr. Rickford continue to insist that “education funding has been increased" and "no jobs will be lost?”

I am confident that the school board has done their best to deal with this major funding cut. I am sure that these were tough decisions. They had no choice and no control over this.

Let's talk about what has happened to this money: the PC government—Rickford, Ford, new Minister of Education Stephen Lecce—are taking money from your kids to break Beer Store contracts, to raise a fuss about environmental levies, to subsidize private for-profit businesses, to give tax cuts to the wealthy, and to give more money to their friends via lucrative appointments and increased government payroll (more ministers and parliamentary assistants).

Meanwhile, frontline services are under attack in almost every single service area. Except, of course, we will have better access to beer.

The real tragedy here is that our students—your children and grandchildren—will pay for this.

Together with OSAP cuts, our local kids are going to be in pretty dire straights. Just wait, health care cuts are on the horizon.

Is this what you voted for? I doubt it.

Please speak to workers; we are also consumers of the services that are being taken away.

Talk to educators, health care workers, and other folks who plan and deliver services.

And when you're done, make sure you tell your MPP, the Minister(s) and the Premier what you think. But don't wait—time is running out.

Sincerely,

JoAnne

Formanek Gustafson

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