Toronto Catholic District School Board Implements Negotiated Teacher Deal
McGuinty Government Encourages Other School Boards To Take Similar Action
Parents of students in the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) will be assured that classes will not be disrupted by labour action, following a decision of the board to put students first.
Last night, TCDSB - the province's largest Catholic school board, serving 93,000 students - passed a motion indicating its intention to sign on to the Memorandum of Understanding reached between the Ministry of Education and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA). Once signed, this locally bargained agreement will protect the classroom experience while meeting the board's fiscal targets.
The TCDSB is the first major school board to implement the agreement reached between the Ministry of Education and OECTA and has demonstrated provincial leadership in its decision. The agreement was the result of difficult discussions over several months at the Provincial Discussion Table designed to allow teacher unions to work with the province toward shared fiscal goals.
This agreement will prevent the automatic rollover of teacher contracts that are set to expire on August 31, 2012. This automatic rollover would have led to salary increases of 5.5 per cent for many teachers and resulted in the accumulation of two million more teacher sick days province-wide that could be cashed out at retirement.
The leadership the TCDSB has demonstrated will prevent the board from incurring an additional $3.7 million in costs associated with the rollover of the salary grid. This means that the board will be able to balance its budget and continue to enrich the classroom experience for students.
The Ontario government urges all other boards in the province to follow TCDSB's lead. After six months of discussions, boards have just under four weeks to work with their local bargaining units to sign local agreements consistent with the OECTA Memorandum of Understanding. As TCDSB demonstrated last night, it is possible to get approval from local trustees before the start of the school year.
- The MOU will have a positive impact on boards seeking to manage their budgets through very tough economic times. Those fiscal elements include:
- Zero per cent salary increases in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
- All teachers will take a 1.5 per cent pay cut in the form of three unpaid professional development days so that younger teachers can continue to be recognized through the grid for their experience and additional qualifications.
- Elimination of the current retirement gratuity for payment of unused sick days.
- A restructured short-term sick leave plan that would include up to 10 sick days, benefiting teachers by providing income protection for serious illness.
“I know TCDSB trustees have the best interests of students at heart. That's why I commend them for leading the way and doing what's best to put our education system on a sustainable financial footing while protecting the gains we've made in education together. I look forward to other boards across Ontario doing what is right for the students, parents, and communities they serve.”
“I'm proud of the leadership our board has taken. By working with the Ministry of Education and our labour partners, we will be able to both balance our budget and continue to provide an enriched Catholic education for students in Toronto Catholic schools.”
“The OECTA agreement provided this board with a significant opportunity to maintain the healthy fiscal outlook we've have worked so hard to achieve. The only responsible thing to do was to act in the best interest of the board, students, parents, and the community by signing the OECTA agreement.”