Facing an increase in class sizes and uncertainty around funding from the provincial government, the local Catholic school board is projecting a reduction in the number of elementary and secondary school teachers it will employ for the next school year.
“Based on the information that is available to us at this time, we are forecasting a reduction of 22 teachers and seven support staff positions for September 2019,” said Tamara Nugent, director of education at the Wellington Catholic District School Board, in an email to GuelphToday.
Last month, Ontario’s Ministry of Education announced an increase to elementary and secondary school class sizes, a move that has some concerned about teacher layoffs.
Last week, the Upper Grand District School Board issued layoff notices to 54 elementary school teachers for the upcoming school year.
Nugent said the board will have a clearer picture of what changes are needed at the end of April when it receives details about its funding for the 2019-20 school year from the Ministry of Education.
“However, it is clear that there are funding reductions in a number of areas and further funding reductions pending,” she said.
Layoff notices to staff in certain employee groups will be issued in accordance to the board’s collective agreement with Wellington Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA).
Nugent said the number may be reduced through attrition, as some employees may be retiring or resigning from the board. She said the board hopes to minimize the impact to its students and staff.
“It is our sincere hope that we will be in a position to recall most, if not all, employees,” said Nugent.
Earlier this week, the president of OECTA said he expected to see a number of layoffs coming.
“OECTA is extremely concerned how these cuts will harm students, reduce opportunities and slash many of our fantastic programs,” said Mark Berardine, president of OECTA, by email on Monday.
Wellington OECTA represents about the equivelant of 500 full-time teachers and 200 occasional teachers.