About 300 school board positions cut in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon
Published February 2, 2024 at 2:17 pm
About 300 specialized teaching positions were made redundant with the Peel District School Board.
The teaching positions will be “phased out” in June this year but no one will lose their job, a spokesperson for the Peel District School Board tells insauga.com.
The teaching positions support special education in classrooms and other education departments such as the curriculum-based equity departments, said Jessica Cooper, president of the Peel Elementary Teachers’ Local.
The teachers work out of the central office or a field office and some are itinerant (travelling) teachers providing specialized support for students with special needs such as autism, hearing or vision loss.
The entire Special Education Department, with more than 100 teachers was cut, Cooper tells insauga.com.
“Some work directly with students (with special needs) and others work to provide support for teachers,” Cooper said.
The positions are with both the elementary and secondary schools.
Official letters were sent out this week to approximately 300 teachers letting them know the positions would be made redundant, Cooper said.
The school board said these teachers will be offered school-based positions in Peel for the September 2024-2025 school year.
“…this means that beginning in September 2024, any teachers impacted will work in one of our 259 schools across Caledon, Brampton, and Mississauga — no one is losing their job,” a statement sent to insauga.com reads.
However, Cooper said while the teachers whose positions are being cut may not lose their jobs, those with lower seniority may end up without a job in the fall.
Cooper said she can only speak for the elementary school teachers, which is about 200 positions.
“When you take just a little bit more than 200 teachers from the central office positions, and you place them into school positions, then you’re bumping out 200 of the lowest senior members in the system,” she said.
It is difficult to say now how many teachers may be impacted because the board doesn’t have the enrolment projections yet, she added.
The Peel Elementary Teachers’ Local is very concerned about the restructuring for several reasons.
The itinerant teachers working with students with special needs have very specialized qualifications.
“We’re extremely concerned because they’ve made a sweeping redundancy of all positions including these (itinerant teachers) but we know these are positions that must be filled and are needed. And they are teachers that are very hard to find province-wide,” Cooper said.
And the teachers with lower seniority may be part of the more diverse workforce hired more recently as the board was addressing systemic racism issues.
The reason for the restructuring appears to be financial.
“Over the past few years, PDSB has undergone significant transformational institutional change. We are deeply grateful to all of the educators who have contributed to the infrastructure building which has been required to sustain this ongoing work,” the statement from the school board reads. “At the same time, we have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure our annual budget is carefully considered as staffing decisions are made.”
The board regularly reviews the organizational structures of all departments and teachers, including special education teachers, will continue to be hired in central office departments each year, the statement continues.
However, these postings will be made available on an annual basis based on the budget of that school year.
Cooper acknowledges the budget issues the board faces.
Declining enrolment means smaller budgets as schools are funded on a per-pupil basis but students who access specialized supports is increasing in some areas.
“So while while our overall population is going down, our special needs services are actually increasing,” Cooper said.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising