Ontario school boards aren't getting new money to purchase free iPads for students
The Ontario government announced last week that the Ministry of Education would be providing thousands of iPads to students who need them amid school closures, but it turns out they didn't actually mean school boards in the province would receive any new funding to purchase the devices.
According to a statement from the Ontario NDP, school boards haven't received any new devices or additional funding, despite the fact that many assumed this would happen following last week's announcement.
Instead, Premier Doug Ford's announcement was merely to highlight that school boards now have the opportunity to use their existing funds to purchase discounted iPads with free internet thanks to a deal with Apple and Rogers.
"We've heard from boards all over the province that are inundated with calls from parents looking for the iPad they believed the government was sending their child," said NDP education critic Marit Stiles in a statement.
"But the sad truth is that Mr. Ford and Mr. Lecce were just taking credit for devices already owned and distributed by school boards. Mr. Ford's words don't match his actions, and as a result, thousands of kids — especially kids from lower-income households — are being let down. This really adds to the inequity. We need solutions for kids in communities with less resources, and those in remote and rural areas."
You can't make this stuff up. On Apr 17 @fordnation+@Sflecce said 21,000 new iPads were on the way to families in need to support online learning. The truth is school boards won’t get a single extra device. They took credit for devices already owned/distributed by school boards😡— Jessica Bell (@JessicaBellTO) April 23, 2020
Earlier this week, the Toronto and District School Board distributed a statement to its trustees explaining that they had not received any new funding for iPads from the province at this time.
"Last week's announcement by the Minister was highlighting, from a provincial level, what school boards are doing with regard to distribution of devices at the local level," the letter states.
"At this point in time, there are no additional iPads (or additional money for iPads) being provided by the Province. At the TDSB specifically, we have secured approximately 6500 LTE-enabled iPads that are being loaned to students for remote learning."
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