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Staffing cuts at Waterloo Catholic school board to affect special needs students
The Waterloo Catholic District School board says it will be eliminating five staffing positions as it attempts to balance its budget.
The Chief Financial Officer says those positions will include special elementary school education teachers, a teacher for gifted students, a vision teacher and instructional coaches.
Karen Heppler says the news is upsetting.
Her son has been on a wait list for an educational assessment for more than a year.
“We’ve been told to pursue it privately because it could be Grade 4 or 5, or even worse, before we see one. He’s continuing to be behind. It’s causing us to pursue more occupational therapy or tutoring in order to keep him on par.”
She says that could cost her family thousands of the dollars.
“I don’t feel like there was enough funding in the first place,” she says. “To further cut it is actually concerning for all those families on the list.”
The school board says a provincial grant for additional assessments was not available for the upcoming school year.
“For us, this year was very difficult to balance the budget,” says Shesh Maharaj, the board’s CFO.
The budget has not yet been finalized.
Trustees will vote on whether the approve the budget next week.
The school board has also proposed other cost-cutting measures including putting off the purchase of laptops, Chromebooks, vehicles, furniture and custodial equipment.
Heppler says she worries about what this means for other students.
“We’re failing the next generation, which is our future.”