Feb. 7 rally against education cuts planned
By Sue Tiffin
Published Feb. 6, 2019
As an educator and parent of three, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation District 15 – Trillium Lakelands president Colin Matthew told the Echo the impact of cuts to education is an issue near and dear to his heart.
Local leaders from OSSTF and the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario are planning a rally outside of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott's office on Feb. 7 to express concerns about potential cuts by the provincial government to education funding.
A Jan. 31 press release from the OSSTF said that as announcements about education policy “begin to pile up, the landscape is increasingly discouraging,” noting that “Ford ran on a promise to cut four per cent from the Ontario budget, a cut that would mean approximately $1 billion to education and more than $8 million in Trillium Lakelands alone.”
The release said that, “recent announcements by the Ford government including sweeping cuts to OSAP and post-secondary funding are incredibly disconcerting to those monitoring education policy” including Matthew. It also said potential class size reviews that could lead to increased classroom sizes that result in “less opportunity for individual attention, instruction or feedback,” in elementary and high schools are concerning.
Matthew told the Echo that so far, details on what proposed cuts might look like have not been released.
“The government has proposed a number of ways to cut funding and to this point these would all affect student services,” he told the Echo. “It remains our position that while boards may be able to redeploy funds to ensure that money is spent on front line workers, that any cuts to funding will negatively impact students.”
The Feb. 7 rally coincides with rallies at MPP offices across Ontario.
“Educators are rallying to ensure that the community, including parents and legislators, understands that cuts to education would mean cuts to front line services,” reads the press release. “We are in an era where demands for specialized services for students are growing, and staff are facing increasingly difficult working conditions including integrating students with unique needs and coping with rising numbers of violent incidents in the classroom, all the while preparing students with skills to cope in a rapidly changing, highly technological, global economy.”
Matthew said it was not likely that Haliburton members would be in attendance at Tuesday's rally.
“The location of [the MPP] offices and the timing of the rallies will make it impossible for members from Haliburton to be at the rallies,” he said.
Community members are welcome to join the rally planned to take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at 14 Lindsay Street North.