Girard’s budget: more schools in bad shape

Despite large sums invested in recent years, the condition of schools continues to deteriorate: 59% of schools are dilapidated, compared with 56% last year.

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The Lego government is, in effect, backing the already announced infrastructure investment to renovate the schools. According to Quebec’s infrastructure plan, only $190 million will be added over ten years, for a total of $13.1 billion.

The additional sums announced on Tuesday are mainly aimed at building new schools and adding facilities, or $1.2 billion over the next 10 years.

Since coming to power in 2018, the Avenir Québec Coalition has more than doubled the amount allocated to renovate and build schools.

This increase, however, did not allow the Ministry of Education to meet its goal of reducing the proportion of schools in poor condition to below 50% by 2023.

This goal is “hardly achievable” despite “significant investments made in recent years,” budget documents say. “Improving the school building stock will take time,” we add, but no quantitative timeline is given.

In terms of student services, Quebec is refining a tutoring program designed to enable students to catch up on learning delays caused by the pandemic.

The allocated funding will double in 2022-2023 and continue for another four years.

With staffing understaffed, the funds allocated to attract and retain employees in the school network are nearly three times what was announced last year, amounting to $204 million over five years.

Quebec is also investing more to increase the number of teachers in school kindergartens and increase the availability of certain programs, especially for students from low-income areas and sports centers.

The increase in planned education spending for the next year, which is 5.4%, will decrease to 3% in 2024-2025.

The budget dedicated to higher education, for its part, increased significantly by 13.1%. For Quebec, the solution to the labor shortage depends in part on better access to CEGEP and universities.

Student financial aid measures will be increased by $101 million next year.

The liquidation of interest on student loans, in particular, is extended for another year, in 2022-2023.

To help students graduate, the Lego government is investing $99 million next year to fund various activities.

As several CEGEPs fill up, Quebec is adding five expansion projects under study at francophone colleges located in Laval, the Laurentians, Lanaudière and Monteregie.

As announced, the expansion project for Anglophone Dawson College in Montreal has been withdrawn.

Education budget for 2022-2023

An increase of USD 275 million (+5.4%), including:

– additional $55 million for tutoring program

– $38 million to address shortage of school staff

– $37 million for a sports and physical activity action plan.

Higher Education Budget 2022-2023

An increase of $247 million (+13.1%), of which:

– $101 million to improve student financial assistance measures

– $99 million to increase the number of CEGEP and university alumni