OCDSB trustee wants to spend $255 million on new teachers, smaller class sizes
OTTAWA -- An Ottawa Carleton District School Board trustee wants the board to spend an extra $255 million to hire 1,800 new teachers and create more classroom spaces this fall.
Trustee Lyra Evans introduced a motion during Tuesday's budget debate to increase spending to reduce class sizes to a maximum of 15 students and keep children safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The motion recommends spending:
- $100 million to hire 1,025 additional elementary teachers to reduce class sizes to a maximum of 15
- $80 million to hire 800 additional high school teachers to reduce class sizes to a maximum of 15 spaces
- $10 million to provide for additional custodial and maintenance positions at the elementary levels
- $15 million to provide for the rental and acquisition of 800 elementary classroom equivalent spaces
- $20 million for additional custodial and maintenance positions at the secondary level
- $30 million to provide for the rental and acquisition of 1,600 secondary classroom equivalents
"Our current plan is not as safe as it should be to reopen," said Evans on Tuesday night.
Trustees deferred a decision on the motion until its next budget meeting.
Several trustees said they wanted to hear from Ottawa Public Health on the back to school plan before deciding whether the draft budget is adequate to keep kids safe in the classroom this fall. Public health has been invited to speak at the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday.
Trustee Keith Penny told the board meeting that, "I think in an ideal world this would be a great thing, however I don't see a chance in h-e-double-hockey-sticks that the government would even blink an eye considering this. To ask for impossible things is not very responsible."
School boards are required to pass a balanced budget and submit it to the Ministry of Education.
The Ottawa Carleton District School Board's proposed 2020-21 $1-billion budget includes a projected $17 million deficit.
The Ontario Government is allowing school boards to use of reserves for budgets this year, up to two per cent of the total budget spending.