Hamilton education director ‘really worried’ for students as cuts loom

News Apr 05, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton public school students face fewer course options, reduced support for special needs, more crowded classrooms and dirtier hallways this September if Premier Doug Ford’s government follows through with announced funding cuts.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board associate director Stacey Zucker said it anticipates having to eliminate 136 school-based jobs for the coming year, including 80 high school teachers and 23 educational assistants, primarily because of lost funding.

She stressed the job reductions are “a worst-case scenario” because all school boards are still awaiting word on grants for student needs, which comprise the bulk of funding.

The grants are normally released by the end of March but have been delayed by a month, and it will likely be mid-May before staff can make final calculations of actual funding, Zucker told trustees at their finance and facilities committee meeting.

The board's education director, Manny Figueiredo, said he fears the cuts will hurt the 26 per cent of students requiring special-needs support and reduce course options for high school students, potentially closing career pathways in areas such as the arts and trades.

He said the board must already offer some combined-grade courses in high school and may have to do so more often if average class sizes jump to 28 from 22.

“I really worry about the choices kids will have,” Figueiredo said. “Ultimately, I see that impacting one of our goals, which is our graduation rate.”

Board figures show 106 jobs are at risk from funding cuts, with another 27 lost secondary teaching positions the result of lower high school enrolment and a total of 18 principal, vice-principal, office staff and caretaking jobs eliminated by school closings.

The province’s move to increase secondary school class sizes is expected to cost the board $13.9 million in lost funding, on top of another $8 million in confirmed and anticipated cuts elsewhere, trustees were told.

The job reductions are offset by the need for an extra five early childhood educators and 15 elementary teachers due to increased enrolment in the junior grades, although the net result for elementary teachers will be a loss of 2.3 full-time jobs.

Trustees deferred for a week a decision on a staff recommendation to approve the staffing levels, which must be set by an April 15 board meeting to comply with timelines in union collective agreements.

Ward 3 rookie trustee Chris Parkinson, who pushed for the delay, accused the Ford government of “flying by the seat of their pants” and failing to show the cuts won’t hurt students.

“I think we’re dealing with a government that isn’t very educated in their education decisions and I want to know what they’re using to base these decisions on,” he said.

While calling the cuts “disheartening,” board chair Alex Johnstone warned trustees they must work within Ministry of Education funding rules and pass a balanced budget or risk having the province take over their role, which happened when Mike Harris was premier.

“You lose your voice. Trustees no longer exist,” she said. “I think our jobs are protecting our students and that we are best able to defend them when we’re at the table.”

Hamilton education director ‘really worried’ for students as cuts loom

Funding changes projected to cut 106 of 136 lost jobs

News Apr 05, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton public school students face fewer course options, reduced support for special needs, more crowded classrooms and dirtier hallways this September if Premier Doug Ford’s government follows through with announced funding cuts.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board associate director Stacey Zucker said it anticipates having to eliminate 136 school-based jobs for the coming year, including 80 high school teachers and 23 educational assistants, primarily because of lost funding.

She stressed the job reductions are “a worst-case scenario” because all school boards are still awaiting word on grants for student needs, which comprise the bulk of funding.

The grants are normally released by the end of March but have been delayed by a month, and it will likely be mid-May before staff can make final calculations of actual funding, Zucker told trustees at their finance and facilities committee meeting.

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The board's education director, Manny Figueiredo, said he fears the cuts will hurt the 26 per cent of students requiring special-needs support and reduce course options for high school students, potentially closing career pathways in areas such as the arts and trades.

He said the board must already offer some combined-grade courses in high school and may have to do so more often if average class sizes jump to 28 from 22.

“I really worry about the choices kids will have,” Figueiredo said. “Ultimately, I see that impacting one of our goals, which is our graduation rate.”

Board figures show 106 jobs are at risk from funding cuts, with another 27 lost secondary teaching positions the result of lower high school enrolment and a total of 18 principal, vice-principal, office staff and caretaking jobs eliminated by school closings.

The province’s move to increase secondary school class sizes is expected to cost the board $13.9 million in lost funding, on top of another $8 million in confirmed and anticipated cuts elsewhere, trustees were told.

The job reductions are offset by the need for an extra five early childhood educators and 15 elementary teachers due to increased enrolment in the junior grades, although the net result for elementary teachers will be a loss of 2.3 full-time jobs.

Trustees deferred for a week a decision on a staff recommendation to approve the staffing levels, which must be set by an April 15 board meeting to comply with timelines in union collective agreements.

Ward 3 rookie trustee Chris Parkinson, who pushed for the delay, accused the Ford government of “flying by the seat of their pants” and failing to show the cuts won’t hurt students.

“I think we’re dealing with a government that isn’t very educated in their education decisions and I want to know what they’re using to base these decisions on,” he said.

While calling the cuts “disheartening,” board chair Alex Johnstone warned trustees they must work within Ministry of Education funding rules and pass a balanced budget or risk having the province take over their role, which happened when Mike Harris was premier.

“You lose your voice. Trustees no longer exist,” she said. “I think our jobs are protecting our students and that we are best able to defend them when we’re at the table.”

Hamilton education director ‘really worried’ for students as cuts loom

Funding changes projected to cut 106 of 136 lost jobs

News Apr 05, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton public school students face fewer course options, reduced support for special needs, more crowded classrooms and dirtier hallways this September if Premier Doug Ford’s government follows through with announced funding cuts.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board associate director Stacey Zucker said it anticipates having to eliminate 136 school-based jobs for the coming year, including 80 high school teachers and 23 educational assistants, primarily because of lost funding.

She stressed the job reductions are “a worst-case scenario” because all school boards are still awaiting word on grants for student needs, which comprise the bulk of funding.

The grants are normally released by the end of March but have been delayed by a month, and it will likely be mid-May before staff can make final calculations of actual funding, Zucker told trustees at their finance and facilities committee meeting.

Related Content

The board's education director, Manny Figueiredo, said he fears the cuts will hurt the 26 per cent of students requiring special-needs support and reduce course options for high school students, potentially closing career pathways in areas such as the arts and trades.

He said the board must already offer some combined-grade courses in high school and may have to do so more often if average class sizes jump to 28 from 22.

“I really worry about the choices kids will have,” Figueiredo said. “Ultimately, I see that impacting one of our goals, which is our graduation rate.”

Board figures show 106 jobs are at risk from funding cuts, with another 27 lost secondary teaching positions the result of lower high school enrolment and a total of 18 principal, vice-principal, office staff and caretaking jobs eliminated by school closings.

The province’s move to increase secondary school class sizes is expected to cost the board $13.9 million in lost funding, on top of another $8 million in confirmed and anticipated cuts elsewhere, trustees were told.

The job reductions are offset by the need for an extra five early childhood educators and 15 elementary teachers due to increased enrolment in the junior grades, although the net result for elementary teachers will be a loss of 2.3 full-time jobs.

Trustees deferred for a week a decision on a staff recommendation to approve the staffing levels, which must be set by an April 15 board meeting to comply with timelines in union collective agreements.

Ward 3 rookie trustee Chris Parkinson, who pushed for the delay, accused the Ford government of “flying by the seat of their pants” and failing to show the cuts won’t hurt students.

“I think we’re dealing with a government that isn’t very educated in their education decisions and I want to know what they’re using to base these decisions on,” he said.

While calling the cuts “disheartening,” board chair Alex Johnstone warned trustees they must work within Ministry of Education funding rules and pass a balanced budget or risk having the province take over their role, which happened when Mike Harris was premier.

“You lose your voice. Trustees no longer exist,” she said. “I think our jobs are protecting our students and that we are best able to defend them when we’re at the table.”