Update regarding elementary school reorganizations

Update regarding elementary school reorganizations
Posted on 09/29/2023
Update regarding elementary school reorganizations

Every fall, as part of our regular staffing process, we are required to confirm the actual number of students attending schools across the District. OCDSB planning and human resources departments then compare this number to what was projected when classes and staffing plans were prepared the previous spring. Depending on the outcome of these projections versus how many students are actually in schools, changes may then need to be made to classes after the school year starts. This occurs to some degree every school year.

Overall enrolment at the OCDSB at this time is similar to the previous year. However, based on our analysis, we have not seen the increase in elementary students that was projected last spring. While these numbers continue to shift due to late registrations, as of last week, we estimate there is a reduction of nearly 1600 elementary students from what was projected in early 2023. 

How will lower than projected enrolment numbers impact elementary schools?

With fewer students than projected, we need to realign classrooms in some elementary schools to better reflect enrolment in each school. Some students may need to be moved to new classes and educators may also be reassigned to different classrooms or schools. We understand that a change in classroom can be upsetting to some students and we are committed to ensuring that this transition is as smooth as possible for everyone involved. 

How will I know if my school or class is affected?

Principals in elementary schools affected will share more information with parents/guardians.

How does the District decide which classes to change in a school?

These changes are complicated and are based on a variety of factors, including Ministry of Education class size requirements (see below), collective agreements, and meeting the needs of students who require additional support. 

What are class size requirements?

Class sizes are based on provincial rules and funding primarily tied to overall student enrolment. There are "caps" or maximum class size limits on some grades and/or programs but not all grades have caps. For reporting purposes, these rules must be calculated based on a day in September selected by the board.

Here are the basic rules from the Ontario Ministry of Education (these apply to both in person classes and virtual classes, collectively):

  • Kindergarten: the maximum class size is capped at 29 students per class with one teacher and one Early Childhood Educator for each class;
  • Grades 1, 2, 3: no class can be above 23 students; 90% of classes in these grades must be 20 or below; 
  • Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8: there is no maximum class size, but the system average across the district must be 24.5 across all junior and intermediate classes.

Why are enrolment numbers lower than projected?

We do not typically receive information from families as to why they may choose to enrol students elsewhere. There can be many reasons for enrolment shifts including family moves, program changes, transportation issues or day care challenges, or families withdrawing and sending students to other school districts, private schools or homeschooling for personal reasons. While numbers may fluctuate, the level of decline from our projected enrolment this year was unexpected. 

What impact will this have on teaching staff positions? 

While these may be difficult and stressful situations for staff members, we do not anticipate any layoffs or redundancies as a result of these changes. There are a number of available positions across the district and we will strive to match all individuals affected with vacancies that may exist in their school or across the school district.

What about secondary schools?

We are not seeing a similar situation in secondary schools.


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