Despite budget cutting at Queen's Park, trustees in Keewatin-Patricia are hoping to avoid cuts to special education. Superintendent Joan Kantola offers an update.

"Keewatin-Patricia is very blessed to have the support of our senior admin team -- and of course our board trustees -- regardless of the reductions from the ministry in the high needs amount for special education funding we are going to remain status quo. We are going to meet the needs of all of our students across the system," she said.

Still, the school board is looking for ways to partner with community agencies, in an effort to improve services for students at less cost. Kantola says they're working with other ministries. They're looking for ways to cut costs while improving services for students in the district.

"We are optimistic that -- by the end of September -- we will have proposals to share with the ministry, a model that will work for our northwest region," she said.

This will likely mean the ministry and its staff will be working with other ministries, as well as their staff, when it comes to helping individual students and children in the community.

"There are four ministries -- including the Ministry of Education -- at the table trying to find efficiencies in the way we deliver rehabilitation services within each region across the province, as well as how we coordinate services for students, not just in our schools, but community-based services, as well," Kantola said.

A generation ago, deficit cutting measures by the province had an impact on special education and supports, as Queen's Park worked to balance the budget. Premier Kathleen Wynne has been on record opposing the deep cuts to social services made during the Harris years.

In his visit to Kenora, the deputy minister for education, George Zegarac, said he was interested in maintaining supports for students. His report on funding in education also looked at making the most efficient use of space, as well as community partnerships.

For more information:
Deputy minister visits Valleyview
Ministry of Education 2015-16 Education funding: Consultation summary