As a father of three, two of whom are still in the public education system, watching them go back to school is always a proud moment for me — proud of everything they have accomplished, and proud of the person they are becoming.

It is this sense of hope and optimism that the Government of Ontario is looking to restore in our public education system. We will never accept the status quo; we are demanding better for our kids and their future.

I am proud our government is increasing funding for education in Milton and across the province. We are investing billions of dollars to build new schools and classrooms so we can give students a safe place to learn. This work has already begun with the expansion of Bishop Reding Catholic high school, and new funding for a high school on Bronte Road that will accommodate 1,221 students.

I was pleased to host our recent announcement of $26 million for French-language education at École élémentaire catholique Milton-Sud. This funding, combined with our focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), financial literacy, and career paths into the skilled trades, means students will be more prepared to meet the changing needs of the job market.

With our education strategy, Education that Works for You, we are not only investing in students, we are investing in educators. Myself — and the Government of Ontario — want teachers to stay in the classroom, which is why we are providing additional funding of $1.6 billion, so we can protect teachers’ jobs. Parents and teachers alike deserve to have peace of mind; I stand with them while we continue to work on a deal that protects our children’s future, invests in their potential, and keeps them in the classroom, where they belong.

I am wishing all students in Milton, a wonderful year of growth, learning, and achieving.