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(Canada) Windsor: SPED to grow by 200 places; $7.6M deficit expected

June 11, 2023, Windsor News Today: GECDSB faces deficit for special education, as demand rises

The English-language public school board has stated that demand for special education programming will grow in the next school year.

The Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) has projected that enrollment for special education students will grow by about 200 students for the 2023-2024 academic year. This will result in a funding deficit of $10.2 million [$7.6M].

Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky, a former GECDSB board member, rose at Queens Park and called attention to the deficit on Thursday.

“[Premier Doug] Ford and his government continue to force layoffs across the province by underfunding special education programs, despite a rapidly increasing demand,” said Gretzky.

“The students of our region deserve better, and I demand that Ford take some leadership, step up to the plate, and provide the funding our region has been calling for.”…

“To accommodate the increasing enrolment and complexity of student needs, an additional 10 GAINS [Giving Attention to Individual Needs] classrooms and four STEPS [Skills To Enhance Personal Success] classrooms will be added in 2023-24,” read the report.

Gretzky accused the provincial government of shortchanging school boards when it came to special education.

“Students across Ontario with special education needs and their parents and families deserve a government that will make the necessary investments to see students thrive,” said Gretzky.

According to the provincial government, the Ministry of Education provides boards with Special Education Grant funding, to help cover the costs of equipment and programs required by special education students. The grant fund is projected to be $3.41-billion [$2.6B] for the coming school year.


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