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Union president says all sides have to work together to reverse education cuts

When it comes to education grant cuts, Glen Hodgson, the President of District 4 high school teachers with the Near North District School Board, says all parties should be on the same page.

Hodgson says that’s the scenario unfolding in other parts of Ontario where school boards, trustees and unions are working together to oppose the cuts and to have them restored.

“That’s exciting and powerful and I hope that we will see the same here,” Hodgson said.

However, he notes so far that hasn’t happened.

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Hodgson says he doubts “there’s anyone who can say in all honesty the cuts are going to enhance public education”.

Hodgson says from the time the Ford government announced education cuts earlier this year he warned nothing good would come from them.

“(But) right after they announced all these cuts, Mr. Aspin tweeted these cuts are good for education with no analysis of them,” Hodgson says.

Hodgson said he found that tweet concerning and adds he doesn’t understand why all parties in this area aren’t more critical of the provincial government.

Instead, Hodgson says the board uses declining enrolment as a major factor why 30 high school teachers are being laid off and adds Aspin has called him a liar.

Hodgson says he doesn’t understand Aspin’s motivation for this and adds “I don’t think that personal attacks are appropriate”.

“I’ve tried to be careful how I’ve characterized things because I think we need to foster healthy working relationships and I don’t think you do that by calling people names”, Hodgson said.

Hodgson says he understands that the school board is frustrated because staff have to work with how much money the Ford government has given the Near North board.

He says that’s why he tries to keep his attention focused on what the provincial government does.

“The way all these measures were rolled out has been ridiculous and I don’t know why we all don’t agree on that,” Hodgson said.

“The Ford government either did this intentionally to cause chaos in the schools right across the province or they really don’t have a clue to what they’re doing.  Both options are troubling and we should be calling them out on that.”


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