Apr. 09, 2020
Today, you may have heard that 1,900 CBE employees received temporary layoff notices, effective for May and June, 2020. This is in response to a provincial reduction in our 2019-20 budget of $21 million that is being redirected to the fight against COVID-19.
Before considering any staff reductions, superintendents looked first at reducing other costs in the organization. We found significant savings from dollars that will no longer be spent due to the cancellation of classes. School budgets were also decreased, and our central offices were able to reallocate funds due to projects being stopped or delayed.
While these measures accounted for about 60 per cent of our reduction, they were not enough to avoid all staff layoffs.
We prioritized dollars towards keeping positions that have the closest connect to students and to supporting learning from home. In keeping with that strategy, our 880 education assistants continue to play an active role in supporting student learning, and will not be subject to these temporary layoffs.
Also important to our staff and families is that we will be retaining the majority of our cleaning and facilities staff. Although classes are cancelled, school buildings remain open for staff, and learning is continuing for students. Cleaning protocols have been enhanced to ensure the health and safety of all individuals who may be required to be present in a school building.
Staff who have received notices include breakfast and lunch supervisors, part-time cleaners, library assistants, Career and Technology Studies instructors, psychologists and speech language pathologists as well as other administrative and support staff.
Contract staff like substitute teachers will not receive layoff notices, but there will be limited work for them between now and the end of the school year.
The CBE has never had to contend with layoffs of this magnitude. Each and every employee plays a valuable role in supporting our schools and students. We know that those employees who received layoff notices will be dearly missed by their colleagues, and especially by our students and families.
These layoffs will impact each school differently, but our focus will remain on ensuring each student has the tools they need to continue learning at home.
In the meantime, there are numerous resources posted on our website with regard to ongoing learning, technology loaner programs and more. Specific information continues to be posted on your individual school websites.
As always, I encourage you to reach out to your teachers and principals if you have concerns or questions.
Chief Superintendent of Schools