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Slipping enrolment threatens Toronto high-school teachers’ jobs

Declining enrolment numbers are forcing the Toronto District School Board to consider cutting back on high-school teachers. (file photo)

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Declining enrolment numbers are forcing the Toronto District School Board to consider cutting back on high-school teachers.

Staff have suggested to trustees that they cut 248 secondary school teaching jobs, based on enrolment numbers that show 2,300 fewer students than initially projected.

Shari Schwartz-Maltz, a spokesperson for the board, said that those cuts may be attainable through retirements and attrition, and that lay-offs might not be necessary. (The board currently employs about 5,575 secondary teachers.)

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"We have less kids in high school and we have to work with what we have and do it in a more creative way," she said.

Enrolment at the high-school level was down close to 2,300 students this year, even before public school teachers cancelled clubs and sports teams in a political protest against the Ontario government.

Staff are also recommending that eight secondary-school vice-principal jobs and 17 educational assistant positions be eliminated. Full-day kindergarten has bolstered enrolment numbers at the elementary level, where board staff recommend hiring 62 elementary teachers and 338 early childhood educators. The board's human resources committee is to review the recommendations at a meeting Thursday, and trustees are to vote on the issue at full board meeting March 6.

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About the Author
Education reporter

Kate Hammer started her journalism career in New York, chasing crime and breaking news for The New York Times. She came to the Globe and Mail in 2008 to do much of the same and ended up investigating allegations of animal cruelty and mismanagement at the Toronto Humane Society. More

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