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Hamilton’s public school board to cut 100 staff, declare 34 elementary teachers surplus

Hamilton's public school board learned that 900 additional teachers may need to be hired to teach elementary school when classes return for 2020-21. Don Mitchell / Global News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) is set to let go of 100 staff positions in roles considered to be redundant.

The board revealed the move in a release on Friday afternoon and said a reduction in student enrolment, costs attributed to COVID-19, and the lack of additional funds from ministry of education as the reason.

The cuts include 100 staff – primarily elementary teachers, early childhood educators, and staff impacted by school closures.

Effective immediately, 34 elementary teachers who work within system roles are leaving, having been told they are surplus.

Read more: Hamilton school boards alert students, staff of possible shift to remote leaning after spring break

“Lower staffing levels is the result of a significant decline in enrolment, attributed to COVID-19 related factors,” HWDSB chair Dawn Danko said in the release.

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“These staff are vital members of the HWDSB family, and we are sorry that we must take this step during an already uncertain time.”

Danko went on to say the board is hoping to reinstate as many positions as possible when funding information from the ministry is announced in the middle of April.

The latest budget outline for the new school year in September anticipates a reduction in student enrolment by about 1,100 elementary students due to the on-going pandemic.

Read more: Hamilton reports 2 new COVID-19 deaths, new outbreak at school on the Mountain

It’s expected that 64 elementary teachers and 25 early childhood educator jobs will be casualties in the cuts.

The HWDSB says the ministry of education has not confirmed any additional or stabilization funding grants to compensate for costs attributed to the COVID-19 response.

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