Catholic school board, province at odds over what funding changes mean for teachers
Published Tuesday, May 14, 2019 6:30PM EDT
The Waterloo Catholic District School Board is struggling with the math following provincial budget cuts.
Thanks to funding changes by the Ford government, the board will be getting less money for the upcoming school year, despite having almost 1,000 more students.
The union representing teachers says there will be 80 fewer positions across five schools in September—whether or not there will be layoffs will be determined by the end of the month.
“There’s a lot of unknowns at this point,” says Patrick Etmanski with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association.
The board says in a statement that it will see $3.5 million less in funding despite an increase of 800 students, leaving a major hole in the budget.
In a letter to the province, the board’s trustees say they’ve been forced to declare all employees in special education departments surplus.
It also means increased classroom sizes for secondary schools—the union says that could mean up to 40 students per class, which could present a major concern.
“Physical space for one thing, desks and chairs for another, text books, materials, it’s going to be hard to run a classroom that way,” Etmanski says.
A statement from the Ministry of Education says, on the other hand, that school board funding has increased.
“We stand by our commitment that not a single teacher will lose their job involuntarily as a result of our changes to class sizes and e-learning,” the statement goes on.
Trustees for the board also say funding cuts mean some specialized and elective courses may have to be dropped.