Local school boards could lay off 76 teachers for 2019-20 school year

Area school boards could lay off as many as 76 teachers, plus other staff, for the 2019-20 school year.

The Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) has already issued 54 layoff notices to elementary school teachers.

The Wellington Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) is anticipating the issuance of  layoff notices to 22 teachers and seven support staff.

It is not yet clear how many schools will be affected.

Citing a decrease in provincial funding, Upper Grand spokesperson Heather Loney wrote in an email. “It is our hope that we will be able to recall some, if not all, of these teachers.”

Wellington Catholic director of education Tamara Nugent echoed Loney’s comment.

“It is our sincere hope that we will be in a position to recall most, if not all, employees,” Nugent wrote in an email to the Advertiser.

“Our on-going commitment is to minimize the impact to our students and staff.”

Both expect to have full funding details from the government by the end of April.

If the layoffs go forward they will take effect before the beginning of the school year in September.

In the UGDSB, those issued layoff notices are elementary teachers with the lowest seniority, as is outlined in the collective agreement, Loney explained.

“The reason these notices are being issued at this time is because we must adhere to strict timelines outlined in our collective agreements on communicating layoff notices,” she said.

Nugent said layoff notices will need to be issued to WCDSB “staff in certain employee groups in accordance with collective agreement obligations and timelines. This number may be reduced through continued attrition as employees resign or retire from the board.”

The last time the UGDSB issued layoff notices, in 2015, all staff members were recalled, Loney explained.

“We are in this position due to an overall decrease in positions,” Loney said.

“This is due to a variety of things, including a loss in provincial revenue; provincial changes to autism funding, which resulted in the loss of some programs; Local Priority Funding that expires at the end of August; and in our board supported ESL (English as a Second Language) and Special Education, and other typical staffing considerations.”

Nugent agreed.

“It is clear that there are funding reductions in a number of areas and further funding reductions pending,” she said.

The effect layoffs could have on students is unknown.

“We are awaiting full funding details from the ministry before we can assess the full impact moving forward,” Loney said.