'Impacting the students': Calgary boards to hire more teachers, but class size issue remains
CALGARY -- Two of Calgary’s largest school boards are hiring more teachers and support staff after receiving the first half of federal funding intended to help schools reopen during COVID-19.
The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) says it has just received $22.42 million of its $44 million in funding from Ottawa.
"There are a number of areas where we will be using this funding to support our COVID-19 response, including hiring 150 additional certificated staff to augment regular school staffing levels to support the delivery of the hub online learning option for CBE students," reads a statement from the school board.
"We are also in the process of hiring approximately 240 additional cleaning staff."
Meantime, the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) says it had put up job postings for teachers and hopes to hire and place the additional staff by the end of the month.
"Of the $20.5 million coming from the federal government to help us reduce the risk of COVID-19, we have invested in 75 teachers already, which would be the equivalent of $7.5 million," Supt. Bryan Szumlas told CTV News.
CLASS SIZE CONCERNS
The additional teachers come as the CCSD makes changes to its teacher placement, leading to some schools losing staff and increasing class sizes.
Steve McSween’s son is in Grade 4 at St. Joan of Arc school and learned the school is losing two teachers — one in Grade 4, another in Grade 7.
School officials say it comes after sending in updated enrolment numbers to CCSD.
"As a result of the decrease in total student population, we were informed yesterday (Sept. 9th), that we have two surplus positions at the school," reads an email sent to parents.
Three Grade 7 classes were then combined into two, with each class now having 35 students each.
McSween's son went from having a class of 20 Grade 4 students to 30.
"It’s frustrating," McSween says. "I think it’s impacting the students. And for us, as things change, it makes it harder for us to know what’s best for our son."
Szumlas says the school board alters its teaching numbers at the start of every school year and says CCSD has a panel to identify "hot spots" where class sizes are larger. He says some schools will get additional teachers to address large class sizes, other schools will lose staff and class sizes could increase.