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School boards get more money for textbooks


School boards across the province will be able to buy more textbooks for their students thanks to $65 million the province announced yesterday for classroom materials.

Premier Ernie Eves and Education minister Elizabeth Witmer made the announcement of the one-time extra funds for textbooks and technology-based learning materials.

The funding is intended to alleviate problems of students sharing books or using out-of-date materials due to funding shortages.

“We have set higher academic standards for our children so it is vital that students have the books and resources they need to reach those standards,” Premier Eves said.

“[Wednesday’s funding announcement will help children all across Ontario enjoy improved opportunities for learning,” he added.

“All of us—parents, teachers, school boards, and government—want the best for students,” said Witmer. “Our government will continue to direct more resources to the classroom to help students achieve their full potential.”

At least one local educator was thrilled at the news.

“It’s welcome news for us, we can always use more money for textbooks,” said Terry Ellwood, superintendent of education for the Rainy River District School Board.

“We really need textbooks in the whole spectrum of grades.”

Ellwood, who was speaking from the Northern Ontario Education Leaders convention in Thunder Bay, said the funds are to be distributed on a per-student basis, though he added he hasn’t seen anything in writing yet.

The announcement of extra funds, which occurred only two days after Premier Eves took office, is seen as a promising start to the new government.

Both Eves and Witmer have said they are willing to revisit the current funding formula, which many boards charge is forcing them to close schools.

“I think it’s partly to alleviate anxiety about what the future of school boards and the new government is going to be,” Ellwood said.

“It’s wonderful news,” he added. “We’re hoping they make future announcements about renewing capacity building funds put into the boards next year.”

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