Ontario’s class size increase could cut more than 1,000 teaching jobs, TDSB estimates

The Ford government’s decision to increase average class sizes will mean losing more than 1,000 teaching jobs, according to a memo sent to Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustees.

While still a preliminary estimate, the province’s largest school board says the significant changes announced last week could mean 216 fewer teachers in Grades 4 to 8, and 800 fewer teachers in high schools.

The government announced the changes to Ontario’s education system on Friday, including increased intermediate and high school class sizes, new elementary math and sex-ed curricula and a province-wide ban on cellphones in the classroom during instructional time.

The proposed changes are expected to be front-and-centre at Queen’s Park on Monday.

As part of the government’s new education plan, the average class size requirement for secondary Grades 9 to 12 will be adjusted to 28, up from the current average of 22.

Meanwhile, the average class size for intermediate Grades 4 to 8 will increase to 24.5, up slightly from 23.84.

The TDSB estimates the changes would save the province between $20 and $25 million.

Job losses expected to come from retirements, resignations

However, the job losses will not come from immediate layoffs, the memo said. That’s because the government is providing funding for a four-year transition period.

“Class size reductions can only be a result of retirements, resignations or other voluntary leaves during this period,” the memo said.

The government changes come after a months-long consultation process that, according to PC officials, obtained feedback from 72,000 different stakeholders, including educators, parents and unions.

The Ministry of Education is still holding consultations about the changes until May 31.

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