An area school board is already talking to teaching staff about possible reductions due to the Ford government changes to education funding.
The Lambton Kent District School Board (LKDSB) has notified 111 full-time equivalent teachers regarding potential staffing changes due to anticipated reductions in Ministry of Education grant funding.
Board officials said that as per the LKDSB’s contractual obligations, the board is required to inform teaching staff of any staffing changes.
The number of layoff notices includes members of two employee groups: 52 Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario members and 59 Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation members.
According to the LKDSB website, board teachers, support and administrative staff serve 21,000 students in 51 elementary and 12 secondary schools throughout the Lambton Kent District School Board.
In addition to reduced revenue due to declining enrolment, the funded average class size in secondary schools will be increased from 22 to 28 students per teacher and the funded average class size for Grades 4-8 will increase marginally. LKDSB officials said they anticipate that both of these measures will result in a significant reduction in grant revenue.
The LKDSB is currently awaiting the specific details regarding the funding allocations for the Grants for Student Needs, which is anticipated to be provided by the end of April. The Ministry has also affirmed that the Local Priority Funding, an allotment that has been used in the past to fund some staff positions, will expire Aug. 31.
“These are challenging times and we understand that these funding changes will have a direct impact on programming, particularly in our rural schools which are experiencing a significant decline in enrolment,” said Director of Education Jim Costello in a media release. “In the past, LKDSB has made staffing adjustments to accommodate declining enrolment; however, the number of notifications for this year is higher than in previous years. The priority for senior administration remains focused on providing and maintaining as many classes as possible in our schools for our students.”
Each year, LKDSB has a number of retirements, resignations and employees transitioning to different roles, which also has an impact on the staffing process. The LKDSB continues to have ongoing communication with local union partners and will continue to do so as the budget and staffing processes evolve.