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NDP says education funding cuts could mean school closures

Education funding cuts by the Liberal government to help eliminate a $12.5-billion deficit could mean some schools in Ontario will have to be shut down, according to the NDP.

The NDP says it has obtained a document that outlines the Liberal government’s plans to cut $500 million from education funding, saying the inevitable outcome will be school closures.

NDP Education Critic Peter Tabuns says he obtained a copy of the government’s education funding guide, which outlines the savings over three years.

“Why would the premier promise Ontarians no cuts to education while asking you Minister to slash $500 million in crucial funding to our schools?” he asked at Queen’s Park on Tuesday.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the implications of the report were clear.

“You can’t tell me that taking $500 million out of an education system is not going to affect the quality of education for our kids,” she said.

Education Minister Liz Sandals didn’t dispute the document’s existence, but says declining enrollment is the real story.

“There’s over 600 schools in Ontario that are more than half empty,” she said. “And I am concerned that in a time of declining enrollment that does mean that we need to look at where (we are) spending our money.”