Frontenac S.S. teachers, support workers and students join provincewide protest

Teachers and students hold early morning education cuts protest
An early morning protest saw teachers and students rally outside Frontenac Secondary School.

School started early for several dozen teachers, students and support workers at Frontenac Secondary School this morning.

They held a 30-minute protest at the Limestone District School Board high school starting at 7:30 a.m.

James Griffith, president of the Frontenac S.S. Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, says it’s part of a provincewide funding cut protest.

“They started off with 400 schools and now I believe it’s 755 across the province, so all levels, we’re talking about elementary and secondary.”

READ MORE: ‘Walk-in’ protests over education ‘cuts’ to occur at public schools across Ontario, groups say

The group was joined by Kingston and the Islands’ MPP Ian Arthur.

Arthur says larger classrooms means fewer teachers.

“They’re not replacing teachers who are retiring, so we have a system that’s on the brink and these educators are out here to try and protect what we have.”

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Griffith says so far teachers in the Limestone District School Board haven’t been hit as hard as other school boards.

“We haven’t seen the drastic job cuts that other places like Toronto district have seen but that’s only protected under the old collective agreement.”

READ MORE: Hundreds of rallies across Ontario held against Ford government cuts to education

Griffith is concerned about what might happen when a new collective agreement is negotiated or legislated by the provincial government.

He says the impacts could be felt as early as next semester.

“We know already we’re short some classes and we’re starting to look at unfortunately cutting courses that are really necessary, that have small class caps. Things like food nutrition, woodshop, some of the trade aspects.”

An analysis by the province’s Financial Accountability Office has predicted as many as 10,000 teaching jobs at the elementary and secondary levels could disappear over the next several years.