The union that represents education workers at Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is charging the board with hiding the real numbers of the budget cuts that TDSB has made to programs and services and with under-reporting the true impact the cuts will have on programs, special education in classrooms, students, parents and staff.

John Weatherup, President of Toronto Education Workers/CUPE 4400 is demanding that the school board’s trustees reveal the true extent of the damages, as facts on the ground continue to show that programs and staffing are reduced over and above what the board is reporting.

“To give just one example, TDSB is reporting that 52 caretakers’ positions are being cut, when in actual fact it is more likely 90 caretakers’ positions being lost. And this is just the beginning of the budget anomalies,” said Weatherup.

As the expected impacts of Toronto District School Board’s proposed 2019-20 operating budget become devastatingly clear, the impacts on TDSB students, parents and staff are developing very quickly and the losses being felt already. 

“Young people and their families will suffer from the cancellation of thousands of student programs, the closure of hundreds of classrooms, the displacement of thousands of students, and layoffs among hundreds of education workers who provide the services that students and schools rely on,” said Weatherup.

An analysis by the union of TDSB’s budget shows that, because TDSB implemented the provincial government education cuts, hundreds of children with special needs will be deprived of direct classroom support. The cuts also rob students of programs ranging from arts to international languages to African heritage to outdoor education; shorten school library hours and reduce services; download central administration to individual schools; and reduce standards of cleanliness and hygiene in TDSB schools.

“We’ve already heard Premier Ford’s worthless promise of no job losses among frontline workers,” said Weatherup. “Now we have the board’s pretend numbers that attempt to mask the extent of the problems that the provincial government has created.

“TDSB has reversed decades of improvements that have translated into educational gains for students, good jobs for workers, and benefits for Toronto communities.

“In what fantasyland is this a good thing?”

Weatherup said members of CUPE 4400 will continue to work with parents, community allies and other partners to ensure that TDSB trustees defend public education and everything that it delivers to Toronto students, families and communities.