Conservatives want to delay full-day kindergarten until deficit eliminated
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, January 24, 2013 1:13PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 24, 2013 7:49PM EST
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.
Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak speaks in front of the Toronto District School Board offices in Toronto on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013.