OSSTF/FEESO - Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation

OSSTF/FEESO - Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation

June 12, 2009 13:36 ET

Halton Board Decision Impacts Special Needs Students

BURLINGTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 12, 2009) - A recent Board decision to reallocate Educational Assistants (EAs) has left staff at many of the regions' secondary schools concerned about programs for special education students and at-risk students. Educational assistants provide our neediest students with additional support in their classes, usually in a one-to-one setting. Many students will return to school in September to find those supports no longer exist in the secondary panel. The Board's focus on health and safety issues as criteria for EA placement means that there will be 70 fewer EA's in secondary schools to address educational issues and ensure that all students have an opportunity to achieve success. Only fifty EA's (from a complement of over 600) have yet to be assigned their duties for the next school year. These fifty will be inadequate to meet the requests for EA support from all of Halton's elementary and secondary schools.

"The rationale for such a significant change in the special education support provided to our students was not discussed with secondary school educators," points out Casey Kalvaitis, Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) District 20 President, "and we aren't aware of any implementation plan for replacing the educational support provided by EA's, that our students need and deserve."

It should be made clear that this is NOT a cutback but a SHORTAGE. The fact is, there have been the SAME number of EAs system wide for the past four years, despite the fact the Halton District School Board continues to see an increase in enrollment and an increase in identified students that require assistance. Every year the demand for support increases and the present resources keep getting stretched past their limits.

The basis of student success is providing the resources to assist all students to reach their full potential. The Halton Board's shortage of educational assistants and reallocation decisions could be creating a major barrier to achieving Halton's overall goal of improving student achievement.

OSSTF District 20 will be holding an information rally at the Halton District School Board offices, 2050 Guelph Line Burlington on Wednesday June 17 between 4:30 and 6:30.

OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, attendance counsellors, and many others in education.

Contact Information

  • OSSTF District 20, Halton
    Casey Kalvaitis