The fallout of yesterday’s budget is going to be felt at the Trillium Lakelands District School Board.

Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation Local 15 president Colin Matthew says “our worst fears for education as secondary schools across the province are being gutted of essential programs.”

Matthew says there will be an immediate loss of 23.5 secondary school teachers in the TLDSB. He says those losses will take place on September 1st.

“This eliminates 141 sections from our high schools – 20 sections per school on average,” he explains. “These cuts will drive up class sizes in the core credits – bigger math and English classes, some of which are already at 33 students, meaning far less individual time for students – and will be the death knell for specialized programming like the arts, technology, and senior elective classes.”

Matthew says this is just the start. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has a three-year timeline to get the class average size to 28 to one. He points out that is the average and not a cap. He figures the board could lose another 45 teachers.”

Also affected are four adult/alternative education centres in the board. These closures affect Bracebridge, Fenelon Falls, Gravenhurst, and Huntsville effective June 30th,  meaning those students will be forced back into local high schools next fall if they choose to attend. 

“Some people struggle in the regular high school environment and now you are returning them to the same thing,” he says.

Matthew says, “Ontario already spends the least of any province on public services and these cuts will further diminish access to public education damaging the classroom environment, limiting student choice in courses, and reducing the number of teachers available to supervise extra-curricular activities.”

He advises anyone that wishes to protect public education should contact their local school trustee and their MPP.

The OSSTF will be holding a series of forums in the coming weeks to help people understand the impact of the announced cuts on the community.