96 teaching positions declared redundant at public school board

The Greater Essex County District School Board Administrative Office. (Photo by Alexandra Latremouille)

The Greater Essex County District School Board has declared the equivalent of 96 full-time elementary teaching positions redundant.

Teachers were notified last Thursday.

Superintendent of Education John Howitt said under the collective agreement with the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario the board has to notify the teachers now.

He also said the contract for secondary school students gives the board more time so how many of those positions will be declared redundant this year has not yet been determined.

Howitt was adamant being declared redundant does not mean the teachers are laid off.

“They get the same salary and the same benefits with no break,” he said explaining the teachers would no longer be on a specific school staff list. “They’re doing things like maternity leaves, or x-over-y leaves. They’re covering unpaid leaves.”

The teachers will remain employed.

“It certainly is disruptive,” admitted Howitt. “We don’t like to disrupt, but we need to be good stewards of our taxpayer dollars. We certainly appreciate everything our teachers do for our students.”

The number could change. While the redundancies already take retirements into account; the deadline for teachers to announce their retirement is April 1, other factors could change the outcome.

“We must protect against funding that may or may not be there,” said Howitt. “If the funding is there, we definitely will reassess, and if enrolment increases.”

The school board typically has a final figure on enrolment in mid-September.