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More students, fewer teachers this upcoming school year

School boards are working on their budgets to meet the demands of the Ford government
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Waterloo Region District School Board
KitchenerToday file photo

With the Ford government's changes to public school funding and demands for increased class sizes, local school boards are hashing out their budgets for the upcoming school year.

The public and Catholic school board are expecting 1,663 more students enrolling this year, but in bid to meet the province's classroom size requirements, they will have 31 fewer teachers.

The province raised the average class size, expecting high schools to maintain an average of 28 students per classroom by 2022.

Greg Weiler, President of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario spoke on Kitchener Today with Brian Bourke on 570 NEWS about the influx of students.

He says it's still too early to say how this school year will pan out.

"Right now we're at the stage where it's just planning people to where they will be, but the actual impacts aren't going to be really seen and fully understood until the bodies are in the room and everyone's in school."

Weiler does question the decision for increased class sizes being in the best interests of students and calling it "counterproductive."

Then there is the issue of the upcoming teachers' collective agreement expiring in August. He says they have recently given the Ford government a notice.

"It's really difficult to even guess how things will go when we get to the fall, and the board is dealing with the reality they have, and collective agreements are expiring," he says. "So it's a lot of uncertainty and a lot of unknown, which just adds to the feeling that people have of not feeling great about where things are at right now."

The final budget votes are expected on June 24.




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