Mississauga Schools Forced to Eliminate Jobs in Wake of Provincial Funding Cuts

 

While a number of Peel District School Board (PDSB) and Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) teachers managed to hold onto their positions in the wake of provincially-imposed funding cuts, the DPCSB recently announced that it has been forced to eliminate a number of non-teaching positions.

The DPCSB told insauga.com that as a result of provincial funding reductions, the board was required to cut approximately $16 million in expenditures. 

The board said it was forced to make difficult financial decisions in order to balance the 2019-2020 budget. To grapple with the shortfall, the board has reduced the number of non-classroom teacher positions, assistant secretary positions and building operator positions. 

The DPCDSB says the reduction in positions will be completed by way of attrition and transfer without layoffs. 

The board says all position reductions are a result of grant reductions and class size changes mandated by the province.

As far as specific numbers go, the board says it was required to cut 10 secondary school coordinator/consultant and non-classroom teacher positions, 21 elementary school coordinator/consultant and non-classroom teacher positions, 26 assistant secretary positions, 21 building operator positions and three psychology and speech-language pathology (SLP) positions. 

In a report, the DPCDSB says that while education funding has increased on a provincial basis from $24.5 billion to $24.6 billion, the minor growth in funding leaves the board in a difficult position—especially since it expects to welcome more students going forward.

"Significant year-over-year reductions in funding are veiled by the Ministry [of Education]'s responsibility to fund the increased enrolment across the province and collective agreement requirements," the report reads. 

"The Education Act requires school boards to submit a compliant budget. The budget compliance requirement for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB), and all school boards across the province, is significantly more difficult for 2019-2020, faced with the funding reductions proposed by the Ministry."

Educators have been sounding the alarm about job cuts since the Doug Ford government announced that it would be increasing class sizes in certain grades.

This past spring, the PDSB announced that, due to funding cuts at the school board level, it was going to have to effectively lay off over 300 teachers, barring urgent action from the province.

Fortunately for teachers who were told they were surplus (meaning there were no guaranteed permanent positions for them), many were called back (although over 70 PDSB teachers will have to take on supply or temporary long-term jobs).

The PDSB confirmed that 137 full-time elementary school teachers would be recalled for permanent positions in the 2019-2020 school year. The board also confirmed that 119 secondary teachers would be able to return to permanent teaching positions in the fall.

As for the DPCDSB, spokesperson Bruce Campbell told insauga.com that the majority of the secondary teachers who received a surplus notice in the spring did so as a result of changes in class size ratios and other funding reductions. 

The board said it was forced to issue surplus notices to 170 teachers in total.  

In April, Campbell said that the board expected that all of those who received a surplus notice would retain full-time teaching positions with the board in the 2019/2020 school year. 

As for what promoted the reversal, the boards were able to recall teachers because of the Ontario government’s $1.6-billion attrition fund, which was created to help boards recall teachers who were affected by the increase in class sizes. 

The DPCDSB says that class size changes for 2019-2020 include maintaining a board-wide average of 24.5 in Grades 4 to 8 and increasing teacher/student ratios from 22:1 to 28:1 in Grades 9 to 12 to more closely align with other jurisdictions across Canada. 

Kindergarten and Grades 1 to 3 averages have not changed.

The board says funding shortfalls will continue to present themselves in the years ahead.  

In the report, the board says that the overall impact to operating grants resulting from enrolment changes and grants for student needs announcements is a reduction of $13.8 million compared to 2018-2019 revised estimates. 

"It is important to note that this reduction is not a one-time occurrence. As this is the first year for the phase-in of secondary class size changing from 22:1 to 28:1, the impacts of funding reductions will continue for another three years," the report reads. 

To read the full report, click here.

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