Spending on public schools in Ontario up nearly $2.8 billion in recent years, despite stagnant enrolment: Fraser Institute

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School Desk with Books

TORONTO, ON – Contrary to public perceptions, spending on public schooling in Ontario increased by 10.6 per cent or $2.8 billion between 2013-14 and 2017-18 despite enrolment only increasing by 0.2 per cent, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Contrary to what we often hear, spending is on the rise in Ontario’s public school system,” said Tegan Hill, an economist with the Fraser Institute and co-author of Education Spending in Public Schools in Canada, 2021 Edition.

Per student spending on public schools in Ontario continues to surpass the national average. After adjusting for inflation, spending per student on public schools increased 2.9 per cent, and in 2017/18 reached $14,394, more than the national average of $13,798 per student.

By comparison, spending on public schools in Quebec was $12,430 per student that same year.

“In critical policy discussions, especially those that affect our children’s education, it’s important to understand exactly what’s happening with spending on public schools, where the majority of kids are educated,” Hill said.

“In Ontario, the evidence is clear—spending on public schools, after adjusting for inflation and enrolment changes, has increased in recent years.”

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