More than 100 employees with the Upper Canada District School Board will be receiving layoff notices by the end of the week, according to the school board union.
This is in addition to 100 redundancy notices given to teachers in May.
On Wednesday night, school board trustees officially voted through next year’s budget, which will slash $11.7 million to balance the books.
John McAllister, the school board chair, says all employee groups across the board, which oversees about 100 schools, will be affected.
McAllister would not confirm how many people would be laid off, but said the number was quite high.
“It’s a new reality. It’s an uncomfortable one for us at this point. But we’re hoping to manage our schools the best we can, we want to support our staff, support our students,” McAllister said. “I think we’ll still be able to do that, but it’ll be different.”
CUPE members rallied outside the school board office in Brockville on Wednesday evening ahead of the budget meeting, asking trustees to reconsider the spending cuts.
“Let’s be clear, our members did not create that deficit,” said Laura Walton, president of the Ontario School Board Council of Unions, which represents 55,000 CUPE education employees in Ontario.
“We are some of the lowest paid people in these school boards. On average, we make $38,000 a year. So you’re going to cut a whole lot of us in order to be impactful.”
WATCH: 67 public school teachers served redundancy notices in Kingston this year
McAllister says the deficit was caused by provincial funding cuts, higher school bus transportation costs and overspending in special education.
The list of cuts before trustees included cutting programming, reducing support staff, centralizing administrative staff and “twinning schools,” meaning that one principal will run two similar-sized schools.
Although its unclear which employees are receiving the layoff notices, Walton says she knows for sure that all speech therapy education assistants will be cut.
Nevertheless, she hopes that employees will be heard, and the board will find different ways to trim the budget.
“We’re saying, ‘Hey, look at different measures,’ or alternatively, ‘Say no to this and lobby the government for more,'” Walton said.
Exact details as to how many jobs will be lost and how the cuts will impact schools will be released on Friday.
— With files from Alexandra Mazur
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