Hamilton public school board laying off 99 high school teachers

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) says it will be laying off 99 high school teachers.

Alex Johnstone, chair of the HWDSB, said in a statement the Board of Trustees made “all attempts” to reduce the local impact of the provincial funding changes.

“It is with sadness and concern that we informed 99 secondary school teachers that they have been declared redundant,” said Johnston in the statement. “As an HWDSB family, we are working to do everything we can to ensure that our staff stay together.”

Johnstone says the cuts are the equivalent of staffing of more than two high schools and impacts staff who have been working with the board for up to six years.

HWDSB says it hopes to recall the teachers back, but it is uncertain when it will be in the position to do so.

“We will actively pursue clarification on the Ministry’s attrition program and how it can be extended to all employee groups to ensure there is no job loss,” said Johnstone. “As we move through this process, we will continue to keep our staff, students, families, and community informed as we receive more details regarding budget developments.”

Many of the 99 teachers took to twitter to share their thoughts on the layoffs. One teacher wrote in part, “Friday @LisaThompsonMPP said no teacher would lose their job “involuntarily”. Today I am redundant.” Another said, “I have lost my job and my livelihood for September. It was involuntary. I am 1 of 99 secondary teachers in HWDSB and 1 of 4 at my school, given notice! Are you listening @fordnation and @LisaThompsonMPP?”

Back in March, the Ontario government announced high school classes would be increased from 22 students to 28.

Less than a month later, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB) handed out surplus notices to 42 high school teachers in the city.

HWCDSB chair Patrick Daly said the educators who were notified were fairly new hires and had been with the board since 2017 or later. At the time the surplus notices were handed out, Sergio Cacoilo, president of the Hamilton Secondary Unit of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, said they were essentially layoff notices. “These people will not be coming back if we cannot resolve the issue with the Ford government,” he said.


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