Feb. 7 rally against education cutsplanned

By Sue Tiffin

Published Feb. 6 2019

As an educator and parent of threeOntario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation District 15 –Trillium Lakelands president Colin Matthew told the Echo theimpact of cuts to education is an issue near and dear to his heart.

Local leaders from OSSTF and theElementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario are planning a rallyoutside of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott's officeon Feb. 7 to express concerns about potential cuts by the provincialgovernment to education funding.

A Jan. 31 press release from the OSSTFsaid that as announcements about education policy “begin to pileup the landscape is increasingly discouraging” noting that “Fordran on a promise to cut four per cent from the Ontario budget a cutthat would mean approximately $1 billion to education and more than$8 million in Trillium Lakelands alone.”

The release said that “recentannouncements by the Ford government including sweeping cuts to OSAPand post-secondary funding are incredibly disconcerting to thosemonitoring education policy” including Matthew. It also saidpotential class size reviews that could lead to increased classroomsizes that result in “less opportunity for individual attentioninstruction or feedback” in elementary and high schools areconcerning.

Matthew told the Echo that sofar details on what proposed cuts might look like have not beenreleased.

“The government has proposed a numberof ways to cut funding and to this point these would all affectstudent services” he told the Echo . “It remains ourposition that while boards may be able to redeploy funds to ensurethat money is spent on front line workers that any cuts to fundingwill negatively impact students.”

The Feb. 7 rally coincides with ralliesat MPP offices across Ontario.

“Educators are rallying to ensurethat the community including parents and legislators understandsthat cuts to education would mean cuts to front line services”reads the press release. “We are in an era where demands forspecialized services for students are growing and staff are facingincreasingly difficult working conditions including integratingstudents with unique needs and coping with rising numbers of violentincidents in the classroom all the while preparing students withskills to cope in a rapidly changing highly technological globaleconomy.”

Matthew said it was not likely thatHaliburton members would be in attendance at Tuesday's rally.

“The location of [the MPP] officesand the timing of the rallies will make it impossible for membersfrom Haliburton to be at the rallies” he said.

Community members are welcome to jointhe rally planned to take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at 14 LindsayStreet North.