Board slashes 186 classroom jobs

The Toronto District School Board has agreed to cut 36 teacher-librarian and 150 education assistant positions in its bid to tackle a mammoth $23-million deficit next year.  The board’s trustees voted 10-9 in favour of the moves on Wednesday night despite concerns about the impact on young students.Marie Coulter, who has been an education assistant for two decades, told CBC News the early reading intervention program helps students learn basic skills.
“It is not just wiping their noses and hugging and squeezing,” Coulter said. “It is giving them the tools to move up to the Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, all the way up.”
Coulter and Laura Maxwell, who works with kindergarten students at Scarborough’s Glen Ravine Junior Public School, said they are worried about their future and their students.
“They can’t learn if everything is being rushed through and they aren’t being given the time for someone to sit with them and explain it through if their parents can’t at home for whatever reason,” Maxwell said.
But John Campbell, chair of the school board, said the board needs to save money somewhere and the easiest way to do that is to cut staff salaries.
He said 86 per cent of the board’s budget is derived from salaries.
“There are very few places where we can make reductions,” Campbell said.
Board trustees said there is a possibility laid-off staff could get rehired if the board finds the required money before the June 25 budget vote.