It’s a grim day for approximately 160 employees of the Upper Canada District School Board, who have been told their jobs have been eliminated.
This news follows the school board trustees meeting on June 19, at which the school board approved a budget that had to eliminate an almost $12M deficit.
While many of the employees are only finding out today, 24 members of Professional Student Support Personnel Bargaining Unit District 26 found out they were losing their jobs yesterday.
The professional student support personnel are part of the Ontario Secondary School Teacher Federation.
The bargaining unit’s president, Jim Mulville, says that represents half of the members of his bargaining unit and every student support partner in the school board.
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Student support partners work with students that need the most help to succeed, Mulville said.
“Some of our kids are homeless, some of our kids are dealing with severe anxiety, suicidal ideations,” Mulville explained, “so there’s a real fear for some of those kids.”
Mandy Steele is a member of the union executive with Mulville, and both of them have been given their notice by the school board.
Steele says she is distressed that the students she works with are losing vital support.
“Where are these kids going to go? What’s next? My heart breaks for them,” Steele said.
Just before 4:30 PM Global Kingston received an e-mail response from the school board chair.
In the response, Board Chair John Mc Allister expressed sympathy for the situation but added they have to work within Ministry of Education funding.
“We have endeavored to do this with the least possible impact on the classroom, although the actual delivery of some programs may look different in the upcoming year.”
Mulville, however, questions that claim.
“Some of the most at-risk kids are the ones that are going to suffer and no one’s picking that slack up and that’s the fear going forward,” Mulville said.
Both Mulville and Steele say they aren’t aware of any contigency plan to provide services that have now been eliminated.