The Toronto District School Board has voted 10-6 in favour of cutting hundreds of jobs in an effort to tackle its $55-million deficit.
The vote was cast during a meeting Wednesday after hours of heated debate.
The cuts will include 248 high school teachers, eight vice principals, 22 special education staff and 47 guidance staff – including librarians.
“They talk about getting blood out of a stone – the only thing you get out of a stone is gravel, and we have no more to give,” TDSB trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher told CityNews.
The TDSB says seniority will factor when it comes to which teachers lose their jobs, which means younger teachers will be the first to go.
The cuts were proposed due to lower enrollment in secondary schools. Last year there were 3,400 fewer students attending public secondary schools.
“School boards all over the province, both public and Catholic, do have to face the reality that the birth rate has gone down and we have no reason to think that that’s going to change,” Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals explained.
However, the board approved the hiring of 62 additional elementary school teachers as well as 338 more early childhood educators to deal with higher class numbers caused by the implementation of full-day kindergarten.
“Yes there will be some cutbacks in secondary, but there are a lot of additions in elementary. You put the money where it’s needed.” TDSB spokesperson Shari Schwartz-Maltz told CityNews.
The job cuts will save the board $27 million. The TDSB will meet in June to discuss how to deal with the remaining deficit.
– with files from Shawne McKeown