The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has notified secondary teachers that they may be “bumped” from their positions to make room for senior staff amid changes made to education funding by the province.
In a memo sent to all secondary teachers in the school board on Wednesday, the TDSB said that a “board-wide placement staffing process” is underway.
“This may mean that some teachers who are currently not surplus to their school will be bumped from their position by an unplaced more senior teacher,” the memo, which was obtained by CTV News Toronto, reads. “Please know that we understand the anxiety and uncertainty that may be created for Teachers who find themselves in this position.”
The teachers who have been bumped will be declared “tentatively surplus,” the TDSB said. On June 28, teachers will be notified if they have been officially deemed surplus and will be terminated effective Aug. 31.
The TDSB said that the decision to undertake the bump was not taken lightly.
“Rather, it was dictated by the need to ensure that if terminations are required that the process by which this happens will adhere to the letter and spirit of the Collective Agreement,” the memo said.
“Be assured that we will make every effort to place teachers into positions as the Secondary staffing process continues throughout the months of June, July and August.”
The memo was issued two weeks after the TDSB confirmed that 313 classes had been cancelled across the city for the 2019-2020 school year. The school board also said that some grades and course levels will need to be combined in order for schools to offer certain classes.
The TDSB attributes these changes to the ministry of education’s decision to increases the average class size in Ontario as well as a cut to the amount of funding the board receives by the province per student.
The Progressive Conservative government has said they will put up $1.6 billion to protect teachers who don’t want to leave their jobs.
“We have a program in place to make sure that not one individual involuntarily loses their job,” said Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson.
But TDSB chair Robin Pilkey claims the job losses are involuntary.
“There is no such thing as a voluntary surplus,” she said. “These people are coming out of their school and there is not a job for them to be put on at this point. There will not be another job in the fall.”
The Board will be holding a meeting on July 5 for all teachers who received the notification that they are surplus.
York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) also announces layoffs
On Monday, the YCDSB issued a letter to staff indicating that “redundancy declarations” are coming.
“In recent years, we have been able to avoid redundancy through attrition (retirement),” YCDSB Director Ab Falconi said in the letter. “This year, due to changes in Ministry funding, attrition is no longer sufficient to absorb the loss in teaching positions related to decline in enrolment.”
The school board says that provincial funding cuts have resulted in an operating budget deficit of about $7.7 million.
The YCDSB said that the layoffs will occur by the end of the week and will take effect as of September.