Public school principals prepare for fewer teachers, larger classrooms

May 27, 2019 by

Public school principals are budgeting for larger classes, fewer teachers and reduced support staff through attrition and discontinued contracts as they face the prospect of no new funding for enrolment growth, says the head of the Calgary teachers’ union.

“The mood is very down right now, very worried,” said Bob Cocking, president for Calgary Local 38 of the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

“Class sizes will go up, and so will the complexity of classrooms. There will be less connecting, less clarity between teachers and students. And many special-needs students just won’t get the supports they need.”

Principals in local elementary and middle schools are planning for three to five fewer teachers per school, while high schools are estimating they will lose between four and 10 teaching positions per school across the city, Cocking said this week after meeting with public school principals. Numbers for educational assistants are also expected to decrease.

Breaking down budgets across divisions, Cocking estimated that costs will have to be reduced by 5.84 per cent for K-3 classrooms, 3.73 per cent for grades 4 to 6, 2.57 per cent for grades 7 to 9 and 2.74 per cent for grades 10 to 12.

“Budgets have to be based on status quo, without any funding for growth. Class sizes will be huge, there could be a loss of programming, like band or drama in the higher divisions, and less flexibility in scheduling for smaller schools.”

Barb Silva, spokeswoman for Support Our Students advocacy group, added that beyond overcrowding, the system will also see more mental-health challenges for students who are already stressed.

“We know mental-health problems are already on the rise — parents and teachers continue to tell us that,” Silva said.

Source: Public school principals prepare for fewer teachers, larger classrooms | Calgary Herald

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