October 14, 2016

Peel board asks Ministry of Education to revisit definition of a classroom

Letter to minister in response to classroom closure challenges faced due to discontinuation of provincial top-up funding

The Peel District School Board will send a letter to Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter asking the province to revisit its definition of a "classroom" in response to challenges the board is facing as a result of discontinued top-up funding that supports custodial services. This reduction in funding resulted in the closure of what the province refers to as "empty" classrooms during the 2016-17 school year, and possible future music (vocal) and French classroom closures in elementary schools beginning as early as 2017-18.

Faced with a $2.8-million cut in funding from the ministry for the cleaning of schools, on Sept. 24, 2016, trustees directed Peel board administration to use in-year savings to prevent the need for music and French classroom closures in elementary schools this school year. "We understand the need to close empty classrooms in order to deal with financial reductions and we are doing this where the classrooms are genuinely 'empty,'" says Janet McDougald, chair of the board. "However, I don't think any reasonable person would view any of our music and French classrooms as being empty. We invite Minister Hunter and our local MPPs to visit our schools to experience, first-hand, the vibrant programming that is delivered by our music and French teachers in these classrooms every school day."

Trustees will also write to request a meeting with the Minister of Education, along with representatives from Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2544, Peel Elementary Teachers' Local, Peel Principals' and Vice-Principals' Association, and Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation District 19-Peel to discuss this issue. Notes McDougald, "Trustees' direction of funds to support these non-funded classrooms is not a long-term solution. For help with a permanent solution, we turn to the ministry."


Media Contact: Janet McDougald, Chair of the Board, janet.mcdougald@peelsb.com, 905-278-1402

Reference: Carla Pereira, Manager of Communications, carla.pereira@peelsb.com, 905-890-1010 ext. 2814


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