Hamilton Catholic school board hands out surplus notices to 42 high school teachers

Hamilton’s Catholic school board is handing out surplus notices to 42 high school teachers Monday.

The notices, which are not lay-off notices, indicate the number of surplus secondary teachers at the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board for next school year.

“Our commitment is to do everything we can … to minimize the impact on staff,” said board chair Pat Daly. “There’s a long way to go until next September, and our hope is that through retirements and other things that the teachers they’ll remain in the employment of the board.”

While the surplus notices indicate the board has 42 more high school teachers than it needs, some or all of those may end up with jobs depending on retirements, enrolment numbers and final funding allocations.

Each year, the board goes over the school-by-school surplus to determine if teachers need to be moved to other schools, but it is rare for Hamilton’s Catholic board to declare an overall system surplus, he said.

Daly, who has been board chair for close to 30 years, said the last time he remembers it happening was in the late 1990s.

The majority of the surplus positions are related to the province’s planned increase to the average high school class size from 22 to 28 students as well as uncertainty around funding, he said.

School boards are expecting to learn of their per-pupil Grants for Student Needs, which fuel most of their funding, at the end of April — a month later than the ministry typically announces them.

Despite this, the board has to issue surplus notices now in order to meet timelines set out in the collective agreement, Daly said.

“We appreciate that this creates concern for those receiving the letters, but again, we just want to assure them that we’re going to do everything we can to minimize the impact,” he said.