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WRDSB to lay off 106 elementary school teachers


More than 100 teachers at the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) are learning they have been declared surplus will likely be out of a job as of Aug. 12.

In an email to CTV News, the board confirmed it made the decision to lay off elementary teachers who do not have permanent status after receiving initial budget information for the 2024-2025 school year from the province. The decision impacts around 106 teachers, the board said.

“We know and understand that this is difficult news for the elementary educators who are impacted, and we are committed to supporting their well-being throughout this process,” the WRDSB said in a statement to CTV News.

Union reacts

The union representing the teachers laid blame for the decision squarely at the feet of the Doug Ford government.

"This decision profoundly underscores the challenges educators and our public education system face due to inadequate funding. It is the first time since the Mike Harris regime that ETFO Waterloo has been in a surplus position,” Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Waterloo Region President Jeff Pelich said in an email to members shared with CTV News.

“The Minister of Education likes to tout that funding for education (including childcare) increased by 2.7 per cent. With an inflation rate of 3.7 per cent and an enrolment increase of one per cent, this is a cut to public education. It is our collective responsibility to hold the Ford government accountable for this.”

The union said, not only does this represent inadequate funding but also poor timing, as funding was only announced last week.

“I think that if the government had released funding announcements two weeks ago, three weeks ago, even maybe a month ago, we may not have been in the same situation,” said Pelich.

Pelich said teachers were impacted in every subject from French, to music, to English and math.

“[They’re] stressed, anxious, fearful, frustrated and sad,” he said. “A lot of these educators have been dreaming of a classroom, dreaming of being in front of students.”

Pelich expects many of them will be recalled in June, once the board receives further grant information from the province – but it won’t likely be in the same classroom.

“They've invested a year getting to know the students, getting to know the school, embedding themselves into the community,” he said.

The union hopes the impact to students is minimal, but isn’t sure what to expect.

“It's naive to assume that it will be business as usual for our school board,” Pelich said. “As funding is not keeping up with inflation or growth, we anticipate seeing fewer staff to support our most vulnerable learners, cuts to classroom supply budgets, and a vast reduction in central staff to implement Ministry initiatives.”

Ministry of Education responds

The Ministry of Education’s office told CTV News, it is up to individual school boards to allocate funding to specific schools, services or programs based on local need.

“School boards are in the best position to know what hiring decisions need to be made based on their own projections, financial circumstances, and staffing requirements stipulated in their local collective agreements,” said a statement to CTV, in part.

The ministry added that it has provided the WRDSB with $830 million for the upcoming 2024-25 school year, a $24 million increase from this year.

“We will continue to support Waterloo students by doubling funding to build schools and invest more in what matters most: reading, writing and math,” said a spokesperson for the minister’s office.

The minister’s office also pointed to the fact that many will still have jobs.

“If teachers receive surplus notices, it doesn’t mean that they are being laid off, it simply means that for example, they will not be teaching at the same school next year, but they are still employees of the school board.” Top Stories

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