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AIP PARTE 8 NEWS ADVERTISER SUNDAY EDITION, Nareh 28,1!89 <br />Special -needs students <br />may lose teachers <br />Durham educators fear funding formula <br />BY SUSAN O'NEILL School Board, chairman Mary Ann <br />Staff Writer Martin says, "We are committed, and <br />Special education programs here always have been, to special educa- <br />could suffer drastic cuts this September tion ... we have no cuts coming in that <br />if the Province adopts a new approach area at all." <br />to funding when it announces school Meanwhile, Ministry of Education <br />boards' budgets next month, local edu- and Training spokesman Dave Ross <br />cators warn. could not confirm the date for the <br />The provincial government is ex- Province's upcoming spending an- <br />pected to announce spending alloca- nouncement and said he was unaware <br />tions for the 1999-2000 school year in of any changes being made to the gov- <br />April and Durham District School ernment's funding formula for special <br />Board chairman Doug Ross says antic- education. <br />ipated changes to the funding formula <br />for special education programs could <br />mean a significant drop in the number <br />of academic resource teachers em- <br />ployed by the board. <br />"The government is looking at a <br />new funding formula for special educa- <br />tion that proposes integrating the kids <br />into larger classrooms with the addition <br />of educational assistants instead of <br />using academic resource teachers;" Mr. <br />Ross reports. <br />" If the government accepts the pro- <br />posal we'd have to lose about 100 aca- <br />demic resource teachers." <br />Cutting those staff members would <br />have a "significant" impact on special <br />education programs at public schools <br />throughout the region, says Stella <br />Dorsman, co -president of the Durham <br />division of the Elementary Teachers' <br />Federation of Ontario (ETFO). <br />The public board currently employs <br />137 academic resource teachers who <br />play several roles in Durham schools, <br />but Ms. Dorsman says that number <br />could drop to 26 next fall. <br />"Our numbers of academic resource <br />teachers are going to be significantly <br />reduced;' she says. <br />Ms. Dorsman notes these teachers <br />provide resources and extra support for <br />students who have special needs, work <br />with pupils individually outside the <br />classroom, organize student visits with <br />speech pathologists and psychometrists <br />and provide extra help to youngsters <br />with learning difficulties. <br />And, she maintains educational as- <br />sistants don't provide the same services <br />as academic resource teachers. <br />"Educational assistants are not <br />trained teachers. You just can't equate <br />the two roles;" she says. "It's very im- <br />portant for parents to understand the <br />ramifications of this. The delivery of <br />our special education program cannot <br />remain the same." <br />Ms. Dorsman notes the anticipated <br />cuts will not only affect special -needs <br />pupils but also the "average student in <br />the average classroom. It's going to <br />change the dynamics in every class- <br />room. <br />"Parents need to understand this is <br />happening. They may not see the ef- <br />fects until the fall but they need to real- <br />ize the changes before the spring elec- <br />tion," she says, noting the govern- <br />ment's funding announcement is ex- <br />pected April 14. <br />"All decisions related to stating <br />and programs hinge on that announce- <br />ment." <br />nnounce- <br />ment" <br />"It's serious business," adds Mr. <br />Ross. "It would cut about $5.5 million <br />out of our special education (budget) in <br />Durham." <br />At the Durham Catholic District <br />MARYANN MARTIN <br />Durham Catholic school <br />board has 'no cuts coming <br />in that area at all.' <br />(Specializing in Workplace Safety dt Insurance Clams <br />Over 20 Years Experience, Including Appeals Level <br />For Professional and Reliable Service <br />Call: 905-426-4181 <br />Fax: 905-426-5368 <br />2396 Wildwood Cres. <br />Pickering, On. L I X 2G9 <br />Email: <br />LnCA l lle4 • • • • • • • • • • SERVING <br />�JL�i� A <br />ci � L 1 AIR CONDITIONING DURHAM REGI <br />SINCE 1970 <br />W�Ip� <br />FREE <br />AuthorizedHoneywell Digital <br />DealerThermostat 3 <br />FREE KEEPRIGREENLIGHT FREE Winter Cover <br />eEO Obllbfigrtion ESTIMATES RN WING Low Cost Fnancin <br />G NoOSHAWA <br />SUPER uEr , <br />SOUND LEWL 7.0 SELS �w N <br />HIGH EFFICIENCY 10.9 S.E.E.R. <br />