Job cuts hinted for Alberta teachers
Published Tuesday, May 25, 2010 6:08PM MDT
The Edmonton Public School Board may be forced to cut some teaching positions in September. And while administrators have hinted at some job cuts, nothing has permanently been written up.
The board is set to unveil its preliminary budget numbers at Tuesday evening's board meeting.
Job security has in question since the province announced there will be no new education money for the coming year.
The union representing Alberta teachers says he's concerned about possible job losses after hearing that some members have been told to look for work elsewhere.
"We're hearing anecdotal reports that there are teacher positions that are going to be cut and we know that there are also going to be cuts happening in the support positions," said Dennis Theobald with the Alberta Teachers' Association.
Superintendant Edgar Schmidt says the board is doing what it can salvage jobs.
"What we're finding is a challenge in relation to making sure we hang onto as many staff members as we can," said Schmidt.
He says the Edmonton Public School Board is in a tough position because teachers are in line to receive a raise of nearly three per cent in September, and the province is making it clear that it's up to individual boards to foot the tab.
"Understand the problem with it. You've got a 2.92 per cent increase in salaries and a zero increase in budget and that's difficult to balance," said Education Minister Dave Hancock.
Right now, it appears any job cuts will be limited to new teachers or those on temporary contracts.
But, the education minister says he has advised boards to maintain current staffing levels even if they have to run a deficit.
"What I've said to school boards is, 'don't lay off your teachers this year, please, or your support staff just because of a budget issue,'" he said.
The Edmonton Public Board won't be seeping in red ink, but without any new money from the province, it will have to take more than $19 million from its reserve in order to meet a projected revenue of $822 million.
Board officials say that will result in some projects being put on hold and some teachers may find themselves on the board's substitute teachers' list.
With files from Laura Tupper