Government Plan Freezes Classroom Sizes, Invests in Special Education, and Holds the Line on Wages and Benefits
Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, today confirmed the Government has made additional, reasonable proposals at the negotiating table to fight for the priorities of students and parents, with a single focus on ending this impasse.
During the negotiation process, the Government tabled proposals with each of the teacher unions, which included substantive moves on lower than proposed but not lower than on the ground class sizes, support for students’ unique learning needs, full-day kindergarten, as well as reasonable proposals on merit-based hiring and compensation.
Despite these consistently reasonable moves, the teachers’ unions continue to reject the Government’s student-centric proposals while simultaneously focusing on significant increases in compensation, particularly enriching generous benefits schemes.
Today, the Government is announcing the most recent proposal put forward to all teacher unions, with a focus on getting a deal:
A commitment to a funded maximum average class size of 23 in secondary schools – leaving them essentially the same as 2019-2020;
Replace the previous Local Priorities Fund with a new, student-centric Supports for Students Fund, which allows boards more flexibility to address students’ unique learning needs, including special education, mental health, and STEM education;
The Supports for Students Fund would continue at the same funding amount of the Local Priorities Fund.
A commitment to maintain full-day kindergarten; and
Reasonable increases in wages and compensation.
The Government is also announcing a policy to give parents the ability to opt their children out of the mandatory online courses required for graduation.
The Government is calling on the unions to cancel future strikes during this period to allow for good faith bargaining. Moreover, the Government continues to make the case for the advancement of merit-based hiring.
“The time to end this is now. Parents are frustrated, students are losing educational days, and teachers are uncertain about their future,” said Minister Lecce. “I am asking the teachers’ unions to return to the table, in light of this reasonable offer, to reach the agreement parents want, and students deserve.”
These proposals demonstrate the Government’s commitment to getting students back in the classroom, investing in our students’ potential while supporting the school boards’ planning processes.
“This is a balanced plan that reflects the priorities of students and parents, maintaining class sizes, investing in students’ unique learning needs, and holds the line on the reasonable increase in wages and compensation we are offering.”
“If the unions reject this most recent, student-centric offer, parents should rightly be asking what exactly are the priorities of the unions,” concluded Minister Lecce.