The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) is anticipating significant reductions in staffing levels and provincial funding after the Ford government announced class sizes in the province will be increasing.
The public board is projecting 291 fewer secondary teacher positions and 38 fewer elementary teachers over the next four years. The new figures were released to trustees on Tuesday night as part of a draft report.
Back in March, Education Minister Lisa Thompson revealed average high school class sizes will increase by six students — from 22 to 28. Average class sizes for Grades 4 to 8 will increase by one student per classroom — from a current 23 students to 24. Class sizes for kindergarten through Grade 3 will not be changing.
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Associate director of learning support services Riley Culhane told 980 CFPL the board does not anticipate that any teachers will be laid off as a result.
“Over the next four years, there definitely will be reductions in teaching staff,” Culhane said. “Those reductions will be absorbed through retirement.”
While layoffs are not anticipated, the changes could potentially impact elective or optional courses.
“In the past, we may have been able to run a course with a small class size of — let’s say — 15 students,” he explained.
“But because the staffing that we have been provided is reduced as a result of increasing class size averages, we don’t have the same amount of flexibility.”
In terms of the financial impact, the TVDSB confirmed to 980 CFPL an updated projection of $25 million less from the province to its base teacher funding once fully implemented in four years.
— with files from 980 CFPL’s Scott Monich and The Canadian Press.