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Teacher layoff total not as severe as initially feared

Published on

Troy Shantz

The public school board will lay off 11 elementary and 18 high school teachers for the coming school years, fewer job losses than initially feared.

The Lambton Kent District School Board issued 111 layoff notices in April following a general, province-wide funding announcement.

But after receiving more specific details in late May the board began the process of recalling 82 teachers for the 2019-20 school years, board chair Jane Bryce said.

Education superintendent Gary Girardi said the loss of the remaining 29 teachers stems from a combination of declining student enrolment and the government’s education funding process.

While exact numbers aren’t available, the board anticipates a “slight decrease” in both elementary and secondary student numbers this fall, Girardi said.

The Ford government is increasing the average class size in secondary schools to 28 from 22 students per teacher. Class sizes in Grades 4-8 will also increase marginally.

“We understand these are challenging times,” Bryce said. “Based on the funding reductions, changes to class sizes and declining enrolment, we know that schools may be staffed differently than previous years.”

She said the changes will have a direct impact on what programs can be offered to students, especially at rural schools where enrolment declines are significant.

The laid-off teachers will be the first called back or assigned long-term occasional work, Bryce said.

Additional layoffs could occur this winter, depending on the number of returning students, she added.

“There could be, but that is very rare.”

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