March 28, 2008
Provincial Budget: More $$$ For Education in Uncertain Economic Times
In this week's budget, the McGuinty Liberals have again demonstrated their commitment to rebuilding public education in Ontario—this despite the looming threat of a recession. Education funding for 2008-09 will increase by $315 million, an additional 1.7%. This will bring the total funding for operating and capital expenditures to $18.8 billion. It should be noted, however, that this does not include any increase as a result of the provincial framework discussions on bargaining issues—including increases to salary figures in the government's funding model. Once these discussions have concluded, there may be a further funding adjustment. Because of declining enrolment, the 1.7% overall increase is actually a much larger increase in per pupil funding. Per pupil funding will increase to an estimated $9,821 in 2008-09, an increase of 3.0%. Overall, enrolments are estimated to decline by 1.3% next year, 1.5% at the elementary level.
Teachers and occasional teachers are not covered by those parts of the provincial Employment Standards Act which mandate minimum wage, vacation pay and statutory holiday pay for workers. Instead, compensation issues are determined through the collective bargaining process.Look for more bite size chunks of information on collective bargaining in future editions of @ETFO/FEEO.
Salary Top-Up For New Parents
One of ETFO's goals for the upcoming round of bargaining is to negotiate full salary payment for a parent who goes on pregnancy or parental leave. While all ETFO collective agreements provide some additional payment for the first few weeks of a pregnancy/parental leave, top-up payments have not kept pace with other comparable groups of employees such as nurses, police officers, university and college employees, and civil servants. For more information on this bargaining goal, please see the latest [Link no longer exists].
Program Spotlight: Professional Learning Community Women's Program
This year, twenty ETFO members stepped forward to participate in critical conversations and self-reflective work related to equity through involvement in Professional Learning Communities. Participants in these 'PLCs' were provided with opportunities to gain knowledge and build a collective vision for equity in education.Two six-week professional learning communities were held. In the first program with Dr. Susan Tilley, members explored issues relating to identity, white privilege, and pedagogy, and how these issues intersect and influence practice. Another group of members worked with Dr. Dolana Mogadime to explore stories of immigrant educators and how their experiences influence the development and enactment of equity-focused curriculum. All participants agreed to share aspects of their learning with colleagues at staff meetings or committee meetings, through community connections, by writing related articles, or by offering ‘table talks.'
To read comments from program participants, please visit the [Link no longer exists] page on the ETFO website.