Toronto District School Board trustees have decided to eliminate 248 secondary school positions in an attempt to address a $50 million deficit.

The trustees made the decision late Wednesday night following a marathon meeting.

The cuts affect mainly high schools, including roughly 115 full-time teaching positions and some 133 secondary school staff positions – including librarian, principal, guidance counselor and special education positions.

Salaries make up roughly three-quarters of the board’s budget. The cuts will save the board approximately $25 million.

“It is a balancing act between the money and offering excellence in programming and we think we have come up with a model that will do both,” TDSB Chair Chris Bolton told CP24 Thursday morning. “We need to transform the system so we are thinking more creatively as we are reducing staff.”

In December, trustees voted to allow the provincial government to provide financial oversight on the board’s spending and to provide advice on how to implement almost two dozen recommendations contained in a PricewaterhouseCoopers report into the school board’s finances.

That report suggests the TDSB close up to 15 schools and lay off more than 700 employees to save almost $92 million over the next two years.

Last year, hundreds of positions, including full-time high school teaching and education assistant positions were slashed by the board.

Speaking with CP24 Thursday, Bolton said the board is making a concentrated effort to shift resources into many of its continuing education programs, where there is increased demand.

“I think we can still offer programming that is excellent and we can expand that programming, but what we need to do is transform the organization and move it forward in a new direction so it is more nimble, more creative and more responsive to the community needs today; not the community needs as they were 30 years ago,” he said. “You know it’s no longer just about K-12 learning, it’s about learning for all the citizens of Toronto.”

The Toronto District School Board is expected to finalize its budget in June.

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