‘Attrition protection’ fund added by PCs to prevent teacher layoffs

By Roderick Benns

Catholic principals join call for slower re-opening

A news release from the Ontario government indicates that a new “Attrition Protection Allocation” of $1.6 billion in the province’s education funding model will top-up funding for school boards to protect front-line teaching staff from being laid off.

This will “prevent boards from having to lay off teachers impacted by proposed changes in class sizes and e-learning,” says the release.

The PCs appear to be getting the message from both union picketing and community feedback, after weeks of advocacy that tried to prevent the layoffs.

However, OSSTF local president Colin Matthew says this won’t help because it’s “not new money.”

“It’s a clarification of the attrition protection announced March 15.  As noted previously Trillium Lakelands will have 23.5 fewer high school teachers next fall than we do now despite enrollment being fairly stable. Reductions through attrition have the same significant negative impact on students and mean that at least 60 fewer courses will run in Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton and dozens more than that in Trillium Lakelands District School Board,” Matthew says.

Matthew says those 23.5 positions “were soccer and basketball coaches, band leaders and student mentors that will no longer be available to students.”

“This reduction is the first stage of the elimination of at least 64 jobs over three years. The reductions in programming will be devastating,” he adds.
The release says that the Province “will use a modernized approach to education reform to better utilize technology, give students the skills they need to succeed, protect front line teachers and ensure every dollar spent benefits students.”

The Ministry of Education recently confirmed education funding allocations to the province’s school boards. Ontario will provide $24.66 billion in education funding to school boards in 2019–20, “investing more in education for the coming school year than the previous government committed for 2018-19.”

“We are putting student achievement at the centre of everything we do to make sure students leave school with the tools they need to be successful both inside and outside the classroom,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education.

“We continue to invest more money into our education system every single year and we will ensure every dollar helps deliver the results parents and students expect.”

Ontario also announced the launch of the new Priority and Partnerships Fund (PPF), which will focus on providing students opportunities to expand their education through outcome-based programs with school boards and organizations.  The province is continuing to invest in school repair and maintenance and is increasing funding for special education, indigenous and French-language education.

Highlights of the additional investments and priorities in education for the 2019-2020 school year include:

  • Assistance to school boards to implement new curriculum, including an improved Career Studies course;
  • Opportunities and culturally-appropriate programs to support learning, and help foster a greater sense of community for students in Ontario’s French-Language Education system;
  • Providing Indigenous students with more opportunities, including help with transitions into higher education or work;
  • Improving math performance with the new four-year Math Strategy;
  • Mental health programming and supports students and families need to ensure school boards help make the critical connection between positive mental health and student success;
  • Assistance for students with special education needs, including pilot programs to improve supports for students with Autism as well as other developmental disorders;
  • Support for students as they transition out of high school – whether they choose to pursue apprenticeship, college, university, or work;
  • Improved internet access for Ontario’s students – including those in rural and northern communities;
  • $1.4 billion in the 2019-20 school year to repair and renew schools across Ontario, to help provide healthy, safe and accessible learning environments for students; and
  • Increased funding for student transportation to ensure school boards can continue to deliver safe and reliable services for those depending on them.

“We promised to improve education for students in Haliburton – Kawartha Lakes – Brock and across the province by modernizing our education system to ensure our children leave school with the tools they need to be successful both inside and outside of the classroom,” said MPP Laurie Scott in the release.

Quick Facts

  • On March 15, 2019, Ontario released a new vision for education: Education that Works for You
  • The Ministry of Education provides the majority of its operating funding to Ontario’s 72 district school boards through the annual Grants for Student Needs (GSN) education funding model.

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