Class size clarification

Dear Editor:

Thank you to the Advertiser for your continued commitment to reporting on education in our communities. 

We would like to take an opportunity to correct information published in a recent opinion piece (Governing backwards, Aug. 29).

The column states that the Minister of Education’s Aug. 22 announcement on secondary school class sizes was another example of the Ontario government’s reversal or “walking back” of a contentious decision. We would like to clarify that this is not the case with regards to class sizes. 

The minister’s Aug. 22 announcement was not a backtrack or reversal on the plan to increase class sizes to an average of 28 over the next four years. It was not an announcement of new funding.

School boards received no information regarding a change to class size funding, and the technical paper released in the spring remains the same. Class size funding has not changed.

It is our understanding that the Aug. 22 announcement was a re-announcement of changes to class size funding (previously announced in March), factoring in attrition funding. The class size averages described in the ministry press release (i.e. 22.5:1 in secondary) are a reflection of the first year of the province’s four-year phase in of changes to secondary class sizes. 

The minister said on Aug. 22 that the existing plan unveiled in the spring stays. That existing plan is to reduce funding for secondary teachers until school boards receive funding at a rate of one teacher for every 28 students. That plan is continuing. 

It continues to be the case that teachers who retire or resign cannot be replaced, and the number of secondary teachers is being reduced.

Linda Busuttil, 

Chair, Upper Grand District School Board