TORONTO - Critics are slamming the governing Liberals for renewing the contract of a construction group that they say charged taxpayers exorbitant amounts for routine work in Toronto schools.

The Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council's contract with the Toronto District School Board was extended when the government imposed new two-year contracts on teachers and other workers in public schools across Ontario.

The Progressive Conservatives say they can't believe the government extended the council's contract after it reportedly charged $3,000 to install electrical outlets and $143 for a pencil sharpener.

Education critic Lisa MacLeod says it shows the Liberals, who are running a $14.4-billion deficit, don't understand the grave financial situation they're in.

A government spokeswoman says the contract was imposed because the school board didn't negotiate a new deal with the union before the Dec. 31 deadline for local agreements.

She says the contract can still be changed through mutual agreement between the union and the school board, so long as they stay within the fiscal parameters of the agreement.

The trades council had complained that there are flaws in the current system, including vaguely written work orders that don't capture the true scope of the work required.

The council said those inadequacies have been responsible for what it called "misleading" reports about time and costs associated with completing work orders.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Lipstick ($62,000)

    Lipstick is just lipstick ... until it's <a href="http://www.sassybella.com/2007/11/guerlains-62000-kisskiss-gold-and-diamonds-lipstick/" target="_hplink">encrusted with 199 diamonds</a>. Then it's lipstick in an expensive case!

  • Socks ($400 a pair)

    Moxon Huddersfield not only sells $400 socks, they only sell $400 socks <a href="http://www.luxuryfiend.com/fashion/moxon-huddersfields-400-socks/" target="_hplink">to those they deem worthy</a>. Their <a href="http://www.moxon.co.uk/" target="_hplink">website is private</a>, and you have to be a member to buy their fancy cashmere socks.

  • Toilet paper ($3 a roll)

    While the ultra-rich aren't literally wiping with money, they might as well be with <a href="http://shop.renovaonline.net/mall/departmentpage.cfm/Renova/_238933/1/Single%2520Roll%2520" target="_hplink">this expensive toilet paper</a>.

  • Soap ($120 a bar)

    This soap has silver in it, which <a href="http://corsilver.com/collections/soaps/products/the-one-large-cor-signature-soap" target="_hplink">the company argues</a> is good for your skin.

  • Tweezers ($100)

    Make plucking stray hairs from your face more elegant with these <a href="http://www.tweezerman.com/store/product/luxe-edition-crystal-slant/" target="_hplink">Swarovski crystal-encrusted tweezers</a>.

  • Bottled water ($60,000)

    This bottle is <a href="http://most-expensive.net/bottled-water" target="_hplink">made of solid gold</a>. Because sometimes plastic just won't do.

  • Ice ($8 a sphere)

    "<a href="http://www.glace-ice.com" target="_hplink">Glace Luxury Ice</a> allows differentiation for those consuming a premium drink from those with less discerning taste. Glace Luxury Ice is a symbol of status for those accustomed to the very best."

  • Trash can ($10,000-$15,000)

    Throw out your empty gold bottles of water in this <a href="http://elitechoice.org/2009/07/27/sylvie-fleurys-idea-of-appropriating-gold-in-trash-cans/" target="_hplink">gold trash can</a>.

  • Cigarettes ($100,000)

    This <a href="http://www.luxist.com/2006/08/15/100-000-cigarette-pack/" target="_hplink">18 carat white gold</a> cigarette box still has a health warning on it. Just because you're rich doesn't mean you're invincible!

  • Starbucks drink ($23.60)

    This is just ridiculous. As ridiculous as spending $400 on a pair of socks? No. But <a href="http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/most-expensive-starbucks-drink-ever-23-60-plus-214200067.html" target="_hplink">ridiculous</a> nonetheless.

  • Tea bag ($15,250)

    British tea company PG Tips created this <a href="http://www.pgtips.co.uk/birthday/">diamond-encrusted tea bag</a> to celebrate their 75th birthday.

  • Backpack ($10,800.00

    <a href="http://shopmulholland.com/bags/backpacks/american-alligator-city-pack" target="_hplink">Mulholland Roadtrip Outfitters</a> sells this alligator backpack, but odds are the type of person who would buy this backpack doesn't go on many road trips.

  • Hair brush ($499.99)

    This brush improves your hair with <a href="http://www.viatekproducts.com/hairpro-luxor-laser-hair-treatment/" target="_hplink">lasers</a>. No big deal!