NORTH BAY — Jesse Gregoris put on a brave face.
The Chippewa secondary school teacher, along with his wife Ashley who is also a teacher, spoke to the media less than an hour after the teachers union informed them in a staff meeting that they would be among more than 110 Near North teachers who will be out of work this spring.
“It’s frightening, my wife and I both teach at the same school and we are both on the list,” said the 35-year-old teacher.
“It was not a good mood around the room because looking around to our staff in that room it is a significant portion from our school and I can only imagine what it will be like for other rural schools in our area.”
Ashley and Jesse were among a number of teachers who gathered outside Nipissing MPP and Finance Minister Vic Fedeli’s constituency office Tuesday afternoon in the rain to release the layoff information to the public.
“The board was obligated to release this to me this week and they will be telling the individual teachers by May 1st and handing them their layoff notices and the board has told me clearly that they do not expect any changes to this number between now and May 1st,” said Glen Hodgson, President, District 4, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.
Hodgson dismisses claims from Fedeli that the unions are simply fear mongering and that these upcoming layoffs are real.
“Let me be very clear, this is happening directly as a result of the Ford cuts and because of the budget that Mr Fedeli has crafted,” he stated.
“This is directly affecting the Near North and our education system.”
Union officials are frustrated about the lack of information being shared by the Ford government.
“This is not a game. These are real people in our communities – students, parents and teachers – who are being affected by the government’s policies, and they deserve better than political posturing,” added Hodgson in a release.