4.5 teaching positions cut for next school year

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
May 10th, 2012

The pink slips are coming to 4.5 teaching positions in School District 51 on Tuesday, May 15.

The layoffs are as a result of declining enrollment in the district, said superintendent Michael Strukoff. In previous years the district has avoided layoffs because of teacher retirements. But not this year.

This year there is only one retirement and no leaves of any substance, said Strukoff.

“There is not enough (retirements and leaves) to mitigate the impact for people who want to work,” he said. “Some will find jobs through temporary contracts and with people who aren’t returning next year, but not every laid off teacher will have a job.”

Boundary District Teachers’s Association president, Norm Sabourin, said there is little the union can do about the layoffs.

“Nobody will be happy about it,” said Sabourin. “Those at the bottom of the list are worried about having their jobs lost and those at the top of the list are worried for their colleagues at the bottom.”

He said layoffs won’t help a workforce who already has a low morale due to the ongoing contract issues.

During the budget process, the school district announced they had to make up for a $600,732 shortfall, mainly due to a 1.5 per cent decrease the district would receive in provincial funding and a projected enrollment decline of 51 students. Most of the shortfall was made up by cutting $380,000 from teachers’s staffing costs. At the time the budget was released, board chair, Teresa Rezansoff had said it would be “hours and not necessarily bodies being lost”, but there will be a job loss afterall.

Next year the cuts may be more severe when a projected $832,963 budget shortfall is expected.

The numbers don’t get better

Declining enrollment numbers are projected to continue in this district.

There are fewer young families moving into the area due to few employment opportunities and a low birth rate, said Strukoff.

Since 2001 there has been a 32 per cent decrease in the number of students in SD51. That’s a drop of 657 students. Part of the funding formula for school districts is based on a per student payment. Less students means less money and less need for teaching staff.

As part of a five year budgeting plan, the school board projects there will be 119 less students in the 2014/2015 school year.