Understanding Staffing Adjustments as we Prepare for the New School Year

Understanding Staffing Adjustments as we Prepare for the New School Year
Posted on 09/02/2020
Understanding Staffing Adjustments as we Prepare for the New School Year

The OCDSB is in the process of staffing for the new school year. Many people have asked questions about what these staffing changes mean, why they are necessary and why is this happening so close to the start of the school year. We wanted to explain the process in a little more detail.

Every spring, schools submit enrolment projections and these are used to estimate student enrolment for the upcoming school year. In late March/early April, we use this data to determine the number of academic staff that we need for the upcoming school year, and to make corresponding budget allocations. Because class sizes are determined by specific Ministry of Education requirements, we take the enrolment data, analyse it by program and grade and determine the number of classes that we expect for the upcoming year. The number of classes is determined by the rules regarding class size and class size averages. We apply these rules to the enrolment data and this determines the number of academic staff positions for each school. 

There are always some adjustments - some schools will need more teachers, some will have too many teachers, some teachers will have retired and some will have requested a change of schools.

When a school has too many staff, they are considered "surplus" to the school needs. This doesn't mean that they will lose their job, but rather, they will have a change in teaching assignment and will likely move to a new school. Given the number of academic staff positions at the OCDSB, we rarely have a situation where a teacher is declared surplus and loses their job.

The academic staffing process usually takes a few months. By the end of the school year, academic staff have their assignments for the upcoming school year. 

That was the case in June 2020 - all academic staff had been assigned. However, when the Ministry introduced new guidelines on August 13, 2020 for remote learning, we learned that students who chose remote learning could not continue to be registered in their home school, but rather would have to be registered in the virtual school. That meant that we would have to staff the virtual schools directly, rather than staff through the home school.

On August 22nd, after completing the Confirmation of Attendance process and obtaining new enrolment projections by school, the OCDSB had to restart the entire academic staffing process. With approximately 16,000 or 22% of students selected remote learning it became clear that there would be a number of staffing adjustments required. Over the past two weeks, we have compressed a three-month process into two weeks. 

This week, schools are in the final steps of confirming their staffing assignments. The impact at any particular school will depend in large part on the number of students who have chosen remote learning. Any academic staff who are considered surplus at their school will be able to find an assignment at another school, including the virtual schools. We do not expect any layoffs.

For students and families, you may see some changes in the teaching staff at your school. Some students in the virtual school may find a teacher from their home school. Others will have new teachers. 

Once students return to school and we confirm actual attendance numbers, we regularly need to make adjustments to classes to help balance class size and address any scheduling concerns.  This will happen in September once all students have returned to school. 

We know that staff and families are anxious to confirm teaching and classroom assignments. We are too! It's a complicated process and one we never imagined doing in such a short timeline. This is one of the many tasks we have been working on and need to ensure is properly completed prior to opening schools.

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