A memo issued by Nancy Naylor Deputy Minister of education warns school boards in Ontario that the extra hiring they were allowed to undertake to meet the special circumstances of the pandemic are coming to an end.
One-time funding will likely not be renewed
The memo says the operation of schools during the lockdown “were possible by the government making available over $1.6 billion in temporary resources to support the safe reopening of schools. These resources have allowed schoolboards to hire over 7,000 one-time additional staff for this school year including principals and vice-principals, teachers, educational assistants, mental health workers, early childhood educators, professional/paraprofessional staff, custodians and other staff that the boards required to meet their needs and the robust health and safety guidance issued by the Ministry. In addition, the government gave boards another $400 million to cover the shortfalls they experienced when attendance declined “as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic of about 40,000 fewer students
But the memo suggests all that one-time funding will come to an end as the province achieves the roll out of COVID vaccination in the coming months warning, “school boards should take a cautious approach in their planning given the uncertainty in enrolment and adjust accordingly for one-time funding that was provided in 2020-21.”
Funding will revert to enrolment-based formula
“The ministry expects that provincial enrolment will continue to be lower than previously planned and school boards should revise their enrolment projections to reflect actual2020-21 levels. The enrolment decline this year was unexpected which is why the enrolment funding stabilization for 2020-21 was introduced. GSN funding will be based on the two count dates next school year as per standard practice.”
A government spokesperson confirmed the memo but said no final decision will be made until the budget is tabled.
An OSSTF statement in response to the news reads, “the Ford government’s plan to make cuts to public education and to layoff thousands of teachers and education workers is not the right way to rescue the economy from this pandemic.”
The full text of the memo is here