WINDSOR -- Windsor and Essex County public high school teachers have given a strong strike mandate to their union.

Local members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation voted 98 per cent in favour of strike action to back contract demands.

“This strong local strike mandate demonstrates that the OSSTF members in Greater Essex are ready and willing to stand up for public education, no matter what it takes," said District 9 President Erin Roy. "The educational cuts that are currently proposed would leave our secondary schools a shadow of what they are today, and we can’t let that happen. The public would be disappointed if we didn’t stand up for publicly funded education.”

The Ontario government has scaled back the funded average high school class size back to 25 students from the 28 it has been proposing for months.

The current collective agreement ties funding to an average class size of 22 students.

Roy has said the move is not encouraging, and will lead to more cuts.

There are about 1,600 OSSTF members in Windsor-Essex, including teachers, educational support staff and psychologists.

Under the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, there are two separate levels of negotiating for education workers – provincial and local. Each level deals with different elements of the collective agreement.

The province wide results will be made available after Nov. 15.

The province's contracts with all school workers expired at the end of August.