TORONTO – The Progressive Conservatives say Ontario should delay further expansion of its full-day kindergarten program until the province’s books are balanced.
PC Leader Tim Hudak supported the roll out of all-day learning for four and five-year-olds before the 2011 election, but now says it’s something a province with a $12 billion deficit cannot afford.
Hudak says tough decisions have to be made, and he’d rather focus efforts on improving student results in literacy, math and science and put a renewed emphasis on skilled trades.
He says the reality is not whether a program is good or not, it’s whether the government has the money to pay for it _ and the government can’t afford to spend $1.5 billion a year on full day kindergarten.
Full-day kindergarten is currently available in more than 1,700 of the 4,000 elementary schools in Ontario.
Hudak says the Tories would want to review the all-day learning program to see if a teacher and an early childhood educator are needed in both Junior and Senior kindergarten classes.
The Tories released a white paper on education that also calls for the elimination of 10,000 non-teaching positions from school boards, but Hudak says he wouldn’t want to eliminate educational assistants for special needs students.