School board finalizes teacher cuts
Teachers and other public school board staff will be getting pink slips this week.
The Calgary Board of Education passed its budget Tuesday night for the 2011-2012 school year, which includes the elimination of 331 full-time equivalent jobs.
Trustees struggling with a $61-million budget shortfall approved lay-offs and draining nearly $20 million set aside in a reserve fund in order to balance the budget.
"These are really tough, tough decisions," said board chair Pat Cochrane. "Next year we won't have enough money to do things the way that we did it this year."
Even though student enrollment is projected to increase in the coming year, the layoffs include about 170 front-line teachers, meaning class sizes will be increasing. Parents will also face increases in school bus fees and a $15 a year hike in lunch room supervision costs.
The budget is vague when it comes to administration spending and the cost of the new head office, said Larry Leach, who follows trustee meetings closely and is president of the Association for Responsive Trusteeship in Calgary Schools.
"One of the things that I have been asked is: 'Where would you cut?' And we don't know. We just don't have enough information."
The school board has found teaching jobs in South Korea and China and is offering teachers facing layoffs the opportunity to take a leave of absence for one or two years.