Rows and rows of donated items from the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic school community were on display at St. Ann elementary school in down town Hamilton. The goal is to raise money for a fund, that helps struggling families in Hamilton send their kids on field trips, allows them to participate in art programs, and fills their bellies when they arrive to school hungry.
This year’s garage sale is different many in the school community are worried about how provincial cuts to education might impact extra-curricular opportunities for students. The Ford government dropped a bombshell in December when they sent a memo to school boards announcing they would be slashing $25 million dollars in funding to specialized programming things like mental health supports, and programs for radicalized student groups.
Since then the province has announced the phasing out of nearly 35 hundred teaching jobs. In Hamilton the public board has laid off 99 teachers and 42 teachers with the catholic board still don’t know if they will have a job come September. The principal at St. Ann’s has said the community and the board will pull through.
It’s teachers that run extra curricular programs like coaching sports teams, running clubs, some saying the provinces move to increase class sizes from 22 to 28 will put more on teachers plates and there will be less teachers in general to give kids these out of classroom opportunities.