UCDSB layoffs loom
“We have this sword over our heads,” Upper Canada District School Board chairman John McAllister says referring to a huge debt that has prompted the board to issue redundancy notices to about 100 teachers.
While reiterating that the notices do not necessarily mean all 100 will lose their jobs, staff reductions seem inevitable as the board is faced with a $5.2 million transportation deficit and a $54 per student reduction in its grants that are based on enrolment.
Meanwhile, other area boards say they do not plan to drastically cut back on teaching positions or have yet to determine their response to lower provincial grants.
Rising enrolment in CSDCEO
Le Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien adopted its staffing allocation for the 2019-2020 school year April 30. “Because enrolment projections in our schools are on the increase again this year, we have reason to be optimistic. However, it is too early to confirm the exact figures,” the CSDCEO says.
The French-language Catholic board follows the provincial guidelines based on attrition. “Surplus employees will be notified soon,” relates the board, adding that firm numbers will be available once redundancy notices have been issued.
At the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario, officials are analyzing information from the education ministry.
The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario reports: “The CDSBEO does not anticipate a significant number of teacher redundancies at this time, as a result of attrition and has not issued any redundancy notices. The board continues to receive retirement notices from staff, which will impact staffing for next year. Currently, the CDSBEO is working through the details of the funding announcement, and is awaiting further information and calculations on the funding details of the technical paper, in order to finalize staffing for 2019-2020.”
The Upper Canada board’s already difficult financial position worsened with a $54 reduction in the $12,300 per student grants for student needs (GSN) funding. With 27,000 students, that cut is substantial.
UCDSB officials are dealing with “pinch points” as they crunch numbers in preparation for the June 30 adoption of the board’s budget.
With an average salary of $90,000, the UCDSB would save about $9 million if all redundant teachers are laid off.
The notices are being sent out now in order to respect the terms of the board’s collective agreements.
Mr. McAllister emphasized that, regardless of the final staffing allocation, “Our schools will be staffed in September and we will welcome students to a new year of learning.”
Last year, only three UCDSB secondary school teachers were declared surplus, according to the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation.
The UCDSB chairman stressed that his board and the CDSBEO are faced with huge transportation deficits because of circumstances beyond their control. An arbitration settlement that awarded raises to bus operators left both school systems with massive shortfalls.
Talks are continuing with government representatives in the hopes Queen’s Park will throw the boards a life line. The UCDSB’s enrolment has remained stable. But staff reductions will become inevitable for the UCDSB and other boards whose enrolments do not rise. That is because, over the next four years, the province will increase the limit on high school class sizes from 22 to 28 and from 23 to 24 in grades 4 to 8.
Yet, the government has insisted that no teachers would lose their jobs.
The province is spending $1.6 billion on “teacher job protection,” to see that “not a single teacher will lose their job as a result of our proposed changes to class sizes or e-learning,” Education Minister Lisa Thompson has.
The government says it “creating a world class education system which will prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow. The province will use a modernized approach to education reform to better utilize technology, give students the skills they need to succeed, protect front line teachers and ensure every dollar spent benefits students.”
Ontario will provide $24.66 billion in education funding to school boards in 2019–20, “investing more in education for the coming school year than the previous government committed for 2018-19.”
The new Attrition Protection Allocation of $1.6 billion will top-up funding for school boards to protect front-line teaching staff, which will prevent boards from having to lay off teachers, the government says.
LOCAVORES’ DELIGHT: Craig MacMillan of the Stonehouse Vineyard in Lochiel pours a red wine during the Tastings In The Glens Saturday in Maxville. Local food was highlighted at the event that was organized by the Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital Foundation. More inside.