New EPSB budget to cut 339 jobs

The Edmonton Public School Board has voted unanimously in favour of its new budget for the upcoming year, which will the reduction of 339 full-time staff positions

Reductions include 182 teaching posts

The Edmonton Public School Board voted unanimously Tuesday in favour of its new budget for the upcoming year.

The budget will see the reduction of 339 full-time staff positions, of which 182 are teaching posts.

A report says 70 per cent of the teacher reductions will be achieved through staff retirement or resignations.

"I really ache for all the staff who are facing layoffs, and an unwanted or unexpected change in the work that they currently love," said trustee Catherine Ripley.

"I don't think that this is a good-news budget," agreed EPSB chair Sarah Hoffman. "However, we are doing everything we can to make sure the good work continues to happen and that kids don't feel the impacts as much as possible.

"Of course, with 300 fewer people working in our district to support their needs, there will be impacts."

Trustees said the $30-million from its budget that was cut by the province earlier this year was a major factor behind the impending staffing reductions.

"I think our priorities are in the right place," said said trustee Heather MacKenzie. "I think our staff is doing a great job trying to meet our priorities — but I think if the provincial government doesn't come to the table, we're not going to achieve our mission, vision and priorities."

"And that's become very apparent to me as we've had to review the many cuts that we're making to programs and people," MacKenzie added.