WECDSB will not support amalgamation of school boards
Published Friday, December 6, 2013 4:35PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 6, 2013 6:27PM EST
The province's high school teachers union has announced a new plan that includes wanting the Liberal government to spend more money on all levels of education.
It's all part of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation -"public education investing in Ontario" platform. One point in the platform has caused a major sticking point among with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.
According to Paul Elliot greater accessibility would include the creation of two secular public education systems one in English and one in French.
"We find there's unnecessarily duplication of administrative services and facilities,” says Elliot, president of OSSTF. “Potential savings could be reinvested back in the public education system to strengthen the system for all."
Elliot says amalgamating the systems will lead to savings, allowing more money to be re-directed into the classroom.
"Estimates range anywhere from zero up to $2 billion, but I think those discussions need to happen, and see if those savings discussed can be realized," says Elliot.
The proposal comes as declining enrollment at the catholic board continues, resulting in significant cutbacks. The board predicts a 47 per cent decreased enrollment over eight years in rural Ontario.
"When you get in those situations, fewer adults, fewer teachers, fewer support staff in the schools, the programs start to suffer and we see that," says Elliot.
The chair of the WECDSB says the two boards merged 12 years ago, but adds the savings just weren't there.
"To hear it again and to hear numbers being thrown around and not based on fact is really disheartening," says Holland.
Holland says the board gets funding based on student enrollment and for every student, there needs to be proper staff in place.
"To experiment with our kids futures, to disrupt families, really does nothing for student learning," says Holland.
There are currently 600,000 students enrolled in the separate school system across the province. Of those 22,000 are in Windsor-Essex.
Holland says the catholic community wants to make it clear, they will not support this platform.