Teachers and their supporters gathered on Friday for an education information rally in front of Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson's constituency office on Queen Street Kincardine.
The president of the bargaining unit for Bluewater secondary teachers, Betty-Jo Raddin, said redundancy letters were distributed to 92 secondary school teachers in the Bluewater District School Board this week. Raddin said reducing the number of Bluewater teachers by about a quarter of the current staffing level will mean fewer course options for students. She said she wants the education minister to understand how the cuts will hurt the local economy.
"There's an inconsistency in the government's words and its actions. You cannot say you're open for business, while you're also making significant cuts to secondary education. When you invest in education, you reduce poverty, and you create economic growth," she said. "Whether a student goes directly to the world of work or they continue their education in college or university, it really all begins in high school. Secondary school teachers are educating the future employees."
Raddin added that there is also a skills shortage in the province.
District 7 of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation planned the rally and asked participants to wear red to support education.
Two weeks ago, about 300 protesters gathered in front of Thompson's office in Blyth for a noisy rally. That action came after the Avon Maitland District School Board sent redundancy letters to 69 secondary school teachers.
Thompson has repeated her promise that no teacher would lose his or her job because of larger classroom sizes or the implementation of online education.