McGuinty asks for teachers' help

By Kelly Pedro, The London Free Press

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. (QMI Agency)

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. (QMI Agency)

LONDON, Ont. - Premier Dalton McGuinty took to YouTube to urge those working in education to do their part to slow down education spending.

In a video posted Friday morning, the premier said class sizes are down, test scores are up and more young people are graduating from high school than ever before.

But more change is afoot.

"Our reality is while education funding will still grow, we're going to have to focus on things that allow our children to achieve the best possible results," the premier said in the video.

"And because salaries account for most of that education funding, we're going to be asking all those working in education to do their part to help us slow down spending."

McGuinty is asking for a two-year wage freeze, plus an end to the perk that allows most teachers to cash out unused sick days when they retire, for a payout of up to $47,000.

The proposals aren't going over well with the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO), which called them "offensive."

Education Minister Laurel Broten said Thursday that her government rejects the recommendations of economist Don Drummond - including ending full-day kindergarten and increasing class sizes - which would eliminate about 20,000 teaching and support staff positions.