Toronto – Once again, Ford’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce has made pronouncements to the media that are outside the collective bargaining process, says the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
“ETFO does not bargain in the media and we have not seen details of the Minister’s proposals at the central bargaining table,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “We have learned from past experience that Minister Lecce’s public announcements do not necessarily translate into negotiating proposals at the table.”
“I can say that the minister only referred to one special education fund while we are trying to maintain a second fund that was agreed to in our last contract extension. If that is the case, special education funding is still down by about $25 million. And contrary to what the minister said, these funds flowed through school boards, not unions.”
“Minister Lecce has not reversed the class size increases in grades 4-8, which remain the largest in the system,” added Hammond.
“What is clear is that the government is only proposing changes because its consultation documents became public last week. It was evident that this government was not listening to the people as it said it would do last fall.”
“We can credit Ontario’s educators and the tremendous support of the public over the past two months for keeping this government’s feet to the fire to come to the table with proposals that benefit students, educators and the future of public education. Hopefully we can reach agreements that achieve those goals.”
ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at BuildingBetterSchools.ca.