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OPSBA statement regarding Minister Lecce’s March 3 bargaining announcement

3/4/2020

OPSBA President Cathy Abraham in a purple blazer

“Our focus is always on what is best for students, and we hope that the positions highlighted today by Minister Lecce are seen by all as a path to a resolution of the current situation. There are certainly some issues that will need further discussion, but in our view, this is a positive development. The best way to reach agreement on these is to continue to work with the other parties to negotiate an agreement that is fair, fully-funded, and fiscally responsible, that will keep students in the classroom and protect the quality of our world-class education system.

Class Size

OPSBA has, through multiple means and on multiple occasions, expressed our concern with any plan to increase the funded average secondary class size to 28:1, or even 25:1.  Our priority has been ensuring that school boards are able to provide an environment that fosters student success and well-being, while offering the courses that students want and need to take in order to get into the post-secondary destination of their choosing.  Today’s announcement puts us in a much better position to do that.

Support for Students / Local Priorities Funding

The proposed return of funding earmarked for special education and mental health would allow school boards to restore the level of service that has existed in previous years.  OPSBA has advocated strongly for increased support in this area, and school boards will be pleased when that funding is restored.

Online Learning

OPSBA supports the use of technology for instruction to enhance student learning and to provide access to courses that otherwise would be unavailable.  That said, it is essential that exemptions exist to any mandatory online learning requirement, in order to reflect individual student learning needs.  Parental involvement is an important factor in ensuring that students are set up to succeed, so we welcome the option for parents to opt their children out of online learning requirements. We look forward to further discussing the details of the government’s online learning plan.”

Cathy Abraham, President

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