With provincial elections a week away, frontline education workers are warning of sweeping and avoidable cuts in staffing announced for the 2022-2023 school year, which begins in September.
“School boards are choosing to reduce the number of teacher assistants, denying more students access to the support they need to succeed. They are choosing to reduce the number of early childhood educators which will result in overcrowded classrooms for our youngest students and they are choosing to reduce the number of janitors and office workers which will increase the level of clean, safe and secure in our schools. reduce,” said Laura Walton, president of the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) from CUPE†
Despite misleading claims by Prime Minister Doug Ford, Education Secretary Stephen Lecce and other candidates for the ruling party, provincial spending is insufficient to meet current needs and increases will not cover rising costs. Nearly all increases in funding over the past year are time-limited or temporary.
“Years of underfunding by Conservative and Liberal governments have resulted in school boards making bad decisions,” Ms Walton said. “The lowest-paid teaching staff are in the hot seat. They are the ones who have worked during the pandemic. They are the backbone of the schools in every community.”
In 2021 dollars, funding per student in 2011-12 (the final year for a decade of funding that failed to cover the costs of inflation and increased enrollment) was $13,285 compared to funding per student of $12,686 today, a reduction of $599 per student. If actual funding per student had remained at the 2011-12 level over the past ten years, the student grant envelope (SBE) would have had an additional $1.2 billion for school boards in the 2021-2022 school year. This money would go a long way toward meeting the needs of schools, in particular by retaining the staff necessary for student success.
“Whether schools across the county get enough money to end damaging budget cuts is a political choice of our elected officials. the Ontario is Canada’s wealthiest province, and the money controlled by just 59 billionaires has grown by more than $100 billion during the pandemic. There is no excuse for this government or any other political party to skimp on the future of our children,” said Ms Walton.
“If you want to end the education cuts that are jeopardizing the success of our children and our county, vote for another government on Thursday, June 2,” Ms Walton said.
- An important letter of understanding that required school boards to staff enough schools expires in August. As part of their negotiations, frontline workers are making it a priority to secure a commitment from school boards and the provincial government that would maintain this guarantee of ongoing service to students and parents as part of their collective agreements.
- The Catholic District School Board of Dufferin-Peel (CUPE 2026) will delete at least 36 scientific support staff positions.
- The Halton Catholic District School Board (CUPE 5200) removes 22 licensed early childhood educator roles and increases classroom size.
- The Catholic District School Board of Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland and Clarington (CUPE 1453) will cut the positions of 65 employees, including 43 teaching assistants.
- The School Board of Upper Canada (CUPE 5678) cuts a primary school administrative assistant position, at least 12 janitor positions, and 13 early childhood educators.
- York Region District School Board (CUPE 1196) removes ten janitor stations.