High School Course Selection Impacted by Budget Cuts
Hamilton, Ontario – June 11, 2019: Due to declining enrolment, the provincial budget, and changes to secondary class size averages, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) has withdrawn 173 course offerings for the 2019-20 school year while successfully protecting student choice.
“Local trustees worked hard to curb the impact of increased class sizes by redirecting contingency funds to protect as many courses as possible,” said Alex Johnstone, Chair of the Board. “Students will be offered elective courses in the Arts, drama, business, and alterative education, ensuring their pathways to graduation remain open. Through this process, we added back 34 classes, which equals 5.66 teachers who are no longer declared redundant.”
Each year, HWDSB offers courses to students to gauge if there is enough student interest within a secondary school to offer the course. These courses may vary from year to year, solely based on how many students register for the course.
The withdrawn courses affect 1,453 secondary students who originally had selected one of the courses. These students received help from a teacher within the Student Services department in choosing another course that fits into their timetables. Out of the 173 courses that were withdrawn, 115 courses, crossing all pathways, had fewer than 10 students interested in the subject. In a typical year, these courses may have been removed due to low enrolment with the exception of any specialized courses.
“As a Board, we want to be transparent and have open communication to inform our community of these course changes as we move through the budget process,” continued Johnstone. “Trustees are concerned that as secondary class size averages grow, our students will be disadvantaged, potentially losing the courses they need or travelling further to receive them. We invite the Ministry of Education to continue to work with us on shared interests that will maintain class options for all students.”
HWDSB’s class size average for 2018-19 was 21.4 students, while projected class size average for 2019-20 is 22.4 students. Trustees continue to work through the budget process for the 2019-20 school year. Budget discussions take place at the Finance and Facilities Committee. The proposed budget will appear before the Board of Trustees for final approval, June 17. – 30 –
Shawn McKillop, APR
Manager, Communications and Community Engagement
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