Guelph’s Upper Grand District School Board issues layoff notices to 54 teachers

The Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) says it has issued layoff notices to 54 elementary school teachers.

The board said the layoffs are due to a loss of funding and programming, but they hope to recall some, if not all of the teachers.

“We’ve had to do this a number of times in the past, most recently in 2015, and in the past, we have successfully recalled everyone,” UGDSB spokesperson Heather Loney said in an email on Friday.

She said there is an overall decrease in positions for a variety of reasons including a loss in provincial revenue, cuts to autism programs, along with supports to ESL and special education.

The board expects to receive full funding details from the Ontario government at the end of April, but Loney said the board is working with less than previous years.

“We don’t know the full impact of that yet,” Loney said.

The school board employs more than 3,000 teachers and support staff, and has more than 35,000 students in 76 schools across Guelph along with Wellington and Dufferin counties.

The head of the labour union representing elementary school teachers in Upper Grand said she is hopeful all 54 teachers will be recalled.

“We’ve always been lucky,” said Gundi Barbour.

“As long as I’ve been president of the local and even when I was vice-president, we’ve never had teachers go into the next school year without being recalled and I’m certainly hoping that will be the case this year.”

Barbour said the board has done this because the province will not disclose any education funding details until after their budget is unveiled in April and the board has to adhere to strict timelines when it comes to layoffs.

“The board is laying teachers off because they don’t know what their funding will look like,” she said.

Barbour said most of the teachers that received notice are in Guelph, along with the Orangeville and Shelbourne area.

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