Change to Staffing
Direction from the Ministry of Education has prompted staffing to be set at an average class size ratio of 23:1 for the next school year. This will require the DDSB to begin the annual staffing process again and will have a significant effect on staffing at schools.
Why Staffing has to Change
The staffing process for 2020/2021 began in February with the building of a staffing model that sets the number of staff at each school. At that time a staffing ratio of 22:1 was still very much a possibility for next year and the staffing model was built with that ratio. Staffing at 22:1 is better for public education. It creates smaller classes, protects course sections and puts more teachers in schools to support student learning. The decision to staff initially at 22:1 was a joint decision made by the Board and OSSTF and we applaud the Board for initially staffing this way. The Board was also perhaps influenced by a Ministry memo on March 3rd reminding them to observe legal obligations of previous collective agreements regardless of changes to the funding formula.
Last week, direction from the Ministry of Education to Ontario school boards directed them to staff at 23:1 for next year. There was no option given for flexibility. This direction comes in light of the central tentative agreement. Even though the staffing process was underway with surplus teachers already declared and the first round of transfer rounds complete, staffing will now have to be done again. The process will begin with positions earned in the first round of postings still in place. A timeline has just been released by Operations and is included in the pdf version of this memo posted below.
The Effect of Re-Staffing at 23:1
Staffing at 23:1 will result in over 70 fewer teaching positions in Durham next year. It is expected that there will be approximately 30 teachers declared surplus to their schools. Approximately another 40 teachers will learn that they are surplus to the Board. This is referred to as redundant in our Collective Agreement and hasn’t happened in Durham in many years.
The Difference Between Surplus to a School and Surplus to the Board
Surplus to a School: When a teacher is surplus to their school it means that while there is no position for them at their particular school next year, it is known that there will be an available position somewhere in the Board. These teachers will have access to 2 rounds of postings to find a position for next year. If they do not secure a position during the rounds they will be placed in a position by the joint staffing committee.
Surplus to the Board (also known as redundant): When a teacher is declared surplus to the Board it means that there is no longer an available permanent position for them. These teachers remain connected to the Board. Work is arranged through filling LTO or other supply positions and as permanent positions become available they are offered to redundant teachers according to their qualifications. It is reasonable to hope that by the end of next year, all redundant teachers will be recalled back to a permanent position.
Role of the Board and Union
The Board and the Union are partners in the staffing process. The collective agreement informs the process and frequent communication between the Board and Union aims to ease the impact on members.
Contacting the District Office
Members are always welcome to contact the District Office with questions and particularly during this uncertain time. We are unable to tell members whether they will be surplus or redundant before that information is released by principals but we are happy and able to answer questions regarding process and general questions about staffing. Our office remains closed due to the Covid pandemic but our team of officers can be reached by visiting the Contact page of our website at www.d13.osstf.ca.