TDSB announces cuts amid a projected $67 million shortfall
Kayla Goodfield, CTV News Toronto
Published Monday, May 13, 2019 4:39PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 14, 2019 10:05AM EDT
The Toronto District School Board announced where cuts will have to be made as a $67 million shortfall looms.
At a meeting, which was held on Monday afternoon, school board trustees were handed a budget plan outlining reductions and changes to the delivery of services and programs amid alterations to funding from the provincial government.
The TDSB initially announced it was projecting a $54.4 million deficit but that number has since changed. The school board said it learned on Friday that an additional $13 million was being cut from the budget. The loss now totals at $67 million – $25.7 million is an annual structural shortfall and $42 million in net loss of funding from the Ontario government.
“We’ve been working for the last number of weeks based upon the budget drivers that our board passed and then our community consulted on and then staff used that to create the proposed budget plan you are hearing tonight,” the director of education at the TDSB, John Malloy said at the meeting while speaking with reporters.
“We focused on students in classrooms. We focused on staff in classrooms. We focused on how we support the best teaching in classrooms.”
Malloy said he was surprised to learn of the additional $13 million in cuts.
“We are not only dealing with the government’s reductions but we are also dealing with our structural deficit and what that means is that we have, frankly, lost some of the flexibility that we have had over time to offer services in the way we have and that’s why some of the difficult decisions will have to be made over the next month.”
Some of the cuts made to the TDSB’s annual operating budget, which totals approximately $3.4 billion, include $12.15 million for supplementary teachers in French classes, $9 million for buses within senior kindergarten to Grade 5 French immersion classes, $5.82 million for learning centres, $5.4 million for central administration and $2.75 million for outdoor education.
Within the cuts to learning centres, the school board said coaches for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 will be cut from 69 to 40, early reading coaches will be cut from 28 to 20 and the 84 current guidance positions will be trimmed down to 69.
In a news release issued on April 25, the TDSB said the projected loss within their operating budget comes in the wake of “changes to the funding handed down by the Ministry of Education.”
“We don’t have all the details yet, but what we do know is that we will be facing budget pressures that we won’t be able to easily absorb without some tough decisions,” TDSB chair Robin Pilkey said in the news release. “We will be working hard to ensure our students feel the impact of this projected deficit as little as possible.”
Furthermore, the province announced on April 26 that the amount of money school boards receive per student was being cut. At the time, Pilkey said this would mean a $21.2 million funding reduction for the TDSB.
Back in March, Education Minister Lisa Thompson announced that the average class size in Grades 9 through 12 will increase from 22 students to 28 students while average class sizes in Grades 4 through 8 will go from 23 students to 24 students.
Thompson promised that “not one teacher will lose their job” at the time of the announcement.
Premier Doug Ford’s office previously said that the changes to class sizes will result in 3,475 job losses for teachers, but all would be through attrition. The savings from the elimination of those positions is expected to amount to $851 million over four years.
The school board responded in the news release noting that the changes to elementary school class sizes violate collective agreements between the TDSB and its union locals and changes to high school classes will mean 800 fewer teachers by the school year of 2022-2023.