TDSB to cut nearly 300 positions due to provincial cuts, report says

As the start of the school year approaches, a clearer picture is emerging of just how provincial funding changes will affect the Toronto District School Board with some 300 positions being eliminated, including teachers, principals, coaches and custodial staff.

A report presented to the board Wednesday details the 296 positions on the chopping block for the 2019-2020 school year, a move estimated to save $47 million. Of those, 190 are layoffs.

Premier Doug Ford had said in May that attrition would be enough to accommodate the funding cuts, but the board has maintained that isn’t true and that layoffs were necessary to meet the new budget.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce chalked the cuts up to problems pre-dating the current government, citing a five-year-long deficit at the board.

“Those structural deficits existed while governments both past and present increased investments at the highest level in the history of Ontario,” he said, adding that he expects to see some teachers eventually rehired.

None of the layoffs affect elementary school teaching staff, but at the high school level, 150 of the positions being slashed are layoffs. The other 40 will hit non-teaching staff across both levels.

The remainder, about 100 jobs, will be cut through attrition, and will affect frontline workers such as psychologists, guidance counselors and social workers.

The board says it was required to make most of the cuts because of a $42-million shortfall in provincial funding. However, it also faced a $25-million structural deficit.

Lecce says he expects the number of positions being eliminated to come down in the coming weeks, saying Ontarians should wait and see.

The board too says that number may change depending on how many retirements and leaves of absence take place, and how many students ultimately enrol.

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