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Reductions to Funding for Public Education

Ministry’s Increases to Class Size Averages & Teacher Job Losses

The Ontario Ministry of Education is increasing class size averages in elementary and secondary schools and the magnitude of those changes will have negative impacts on the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Read TDSB's Letter to Minister of Education Regarding Class Size Changes.

The Ministry’s increase to the class size average in Grades 4 to 8 and in high schools is projected to result in more than a thousand teachers no longer instructing TDSB students over the next four years. Here is how those increases will impact the elementary and secondary school levels at the TDSB:

Class Size Average Increase and Teacher Job Losses – Elementary

The Ministry is increasing the class size average for Grades 4 to 8 to 24.5 students. If our average elementary class size were to change to 24.5 students, it would result in the permanent reduction of 216 elementary teachers at the Toronto District School Board. That reduction in the number of teachers is projected to cost the TDSB a shortfall of approximately $9.6 million in the coming budget year. We continue to work with the ministry to help them understand this situation and to advocate for funding to deal with the shortfall.

The Toronto District School Board, similar to many other Ontario school boards, has in its collective agreement a class size average that is lower than the province’s new average of 24.5 students. In our collective agreement, the elementary class size average is 23.24. We must honor our collective agreement and to do so requires us to have 216 more teachers than the number of teachers we would require to meet the province’s new average of 24.5.

By raising the class size average, the government will reduce funding for school boards. The government will achieve reductions in teachers province-wide by not replacing retiring teachers.

Class Size Average Increase and Teacher Job Losses – Secondary

The Ministry is increasing the secondary school class size average from 22 to 28 students over the next four years. The magnitude of that change in class size means the TDSB will have 800 fewer high school teachers by the 2022-23 school year.

There are significant and far-reaching challenges associated with reducing this many teachers in high schools including:

  • Fewer course offerings for students;
  • Challenges with growing class sizes;
  • Negative impacts on students; and
  • Challenges with meeting collective agreement class size caps.

In short, a reduction of 800 teachers represents an order of magnitude that is unprecedented.

Furthermore, new requirements that high school students take on-line courses may also reduce the number of high school teachers.

“The Ministry is cutting our funding by approximately $20 million. We’re also losing 800 high school teachers over the next four years because of the increase to average class size. Those job cuts will negatively impact student learning. We expect it will also reduce course offerings in secondary schools,”

– Robin Pilkey, Chair, TDSB

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