Catholic School Board hands out layoff notices following Ontario education cuts
Published Wednesday, April 17, 2019 7:00PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 17, 2019 7:46PM EDT
Despite a promise by Ontario Premier Doug Ford that no teaching jobs will be lost due to government cuts, the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic School Board announced on Wednesday layoff notices have been issued.
The school board joins other boards across the province forced to axe jobs.
Between high school and elementary schools, more than 37 positions have been cut completely.
“Those teachers are starting families, buying homes, they’re at the beginning of their careers, and it’s very hard to hear some of those stories,” Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association President Kent MacDonald said.
Fifty-four positions have been deemed surplus, meaning those teachers technically still have a job, but where and what they will be doing is unclear at this point.
Ford maintains it’s routine for school boards to put out its surplus lists in the spring, and that no jobs will be lost because of new, bigger class sizes.
“It’s been going on for years and years,” he said. “It went on under the liberals. The school boards are going to get their budget. They’re going to be hiring back their teachers because not one single teacher will lose their job.”
On the contrary, the board said jobs are being lost because the province has already cut funding to programs.
“We see a significant number of sections that we won’t be able to offer,” Darren Schmidt with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board said special education in elementary school will see the greatest impact with those teachers having now become surplus. He also says that the larger class sizes could mean fewer electives for high schools. “We have to make a decision between offering mandatory programs like English, math, religion, versus optional courses like the arts, music, tech,” he explained.
The board is waiting to find out exactly how much money it will receive from Ontario, saying teachers could be hired back if they receive more funding than anticipated.
Over the next few weeks, teachers will be anxiously waiting to find out how much funding school boards will receive and whether or not jobs will be saved.