Family income is one of the most powerful factors affecting student success. Students from economically and socially marginalized conditions face greater external challenges and consequently require the system to adapt to meet their needs. In recognition of this, the Ontario Ministry of Education provides all school boards with the Learning Opportunities Grant of which the largest portion is flowed through the Demographic Allocation (LOG-DA). Toronto remains the child poverty capital of Canada and yet the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) only spends about half of the LOG-DA on programs and supports for students living in poverty, according to data they published earlier this year.
The LOG-DA is intended to finance programs such as breakfast programs, homework clubs, reading recovery, and one-on-one support within the classroom, all of which help to level the playing field for marginalized students. However, because of chronic underfunding of the education system by the Province, the Toronto District School Board, like other school boards in Ontario, uses the LOG-DA to balance budget lines not related to the grant’s purpose. This means that the students with the greatest need are failing to benefit from the resources that they are entitled to – about $61 million worth of resources each year.