As many as 130 teaching positions in the province’s largest school division could be axed in 2021-22.
Educators in the Winnipeg School Division were informed by management Wednesday that from 120 to 130 positions have to be cut ahead of the upcoming school year because of budget constraints.
Attrition through unfilled vacancies and retirements will account for some of the cuts, but principals have been asked to find positions to eliminate.
The official reductions are slightly higher than projections released last week, when the division indicated 110-120 teaching positions would be slashed in order to afford awarding retroactive salary increases to members of the Winnipeg Teachers’ Association.
The school board and local union voted last week to approve a four-year collective bargaining agreement that mirrors settlements in other divisions — with retroactive wage increases of 1.6 per cent in 2018-19 and 1.4 per cent in 2019-20, in addition to a raise of 0.5 per cent for the current school year, and a cost of living adjustment hike for 2021-22.
Chairwoman Betty Edel said in a release last week the board’s hand has been forced by the provincial government in how it has come to budget for the past three years because of restrictions on property education tax hikes.
“We want to have a fair and equitable settlement with our teachers, they absolutely deserve it,” Edel said in the release published May 20. “Unfortunately, this agreement means reducing the baseline number of WSD teaching positions which will have an impact on student learning.”
The division has 4,587 full-time employees who work in 79 schools. Of that count, approximately 4,000 are teachers.
The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association did not provide comment in time for publication.
Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press