Class size changes included in the provincial government’s new education plan could mean the elimination of some 800 high school teaching jobs and 216 elementary teaching jobs at the Toronto District School Board.

A staff memo sent to school board trustees Friday laid out a preliminary projection for what the changes could mean.

According to the memo, the provincial plan would mean an average class size of 24.5 students per class as opposed to the current TDSB average of 23.84. That change would mean 216 fewer elementary school teachers.

A proposed change in average class size from 22 to 28 students in Grades 9 to 12 would mean a reduction of approximately 800 secondary school teaching jobs across the TDSB, the memo said.

Funding cuts to other secondary school programming would mean a reduction of an additional 82 high school teaching spots.

A new requirement that students obtain four of their 30 high school credits through e-learning courses with class sizes of 35 would come into effect in the 2020-2021 school year. The impact of that change is not yet known.

The province has said that it will provide transition funding for up to four years to ensure no teacher layoffs. The province expects to achieve the reduction in staff levels through resignations, retirements and other voluntary leaves.

TDSB Chair Robin Pilkey said that while people may not be fired, positions will still be lost from the system.

“We’re saying that the jobs will be lost; they’re saying nobody will lose their jobs. It’s a bit different,” Pilkey told CP24.

The ministry is still holding consultations with family, staff and school boards on the proposed changes through the end of May.

The Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation has called the package of changes “devastating” and has estimated that the change in class sizes would result in a loss of 3,630 teachers from the public system across the province.

In a statement released last week, the OSSTF said the changes will have a negative impact on students and teachers and will compound other challenges teachers are being confronted with.

“This comes at a time when higher needs ASD students will be returning to the classroom on April 1 because of the government's ill-conceived changes to the Ontario Autism Program,” the statement read. “And of course, these students are far from the only special needs students OSSTF/FEESO members are dedicated to supporting on a daily basis.”

In a tweet, the group urged all educators and allies to wear black today to protest the cuts.  

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario urged people to email their MPPs to protest the changes.