HALIFAX, Feb. 9 /CNW/ - Members of the Council of Atlantic Provinces'
Teaching Organizations (CAPTO), of which NSTU president Alexis Allen is
a member, are concerned about Nova Scotia's school board funding target
"The Minister has said that the two per cent cut—which is really
somewhere between four and five per cent when you factor in the cost of
living increases and inflationary pressures— is designed to put
children and learning first. I don't see how it won't affect children
in the classroom," says NSTU president Alexis Allen.
Allen and her CAPTO colleagues, who have been meeting in Halifax for the
last two days, are closely watching what impact Nova Scotia's funding
cuts may have on their teachers and students. "New Brunswick is already
looking at cuts, and my colleagues are apprehensive about how this will
affect their provinces' funding decisions."
The cuts to public education funding include a reduction of upwards of
350 teachers through attrition this year, with no replacements. "This
will definitely affect children in the classroom. The Boards already
take into account a reduction of teachers for declining enrolments, and
that number is nowhere near 350. It will mean larger class sizes and
more combined classrooms."
Allen points out that while provincial supports for students with
special needs will be maintained, these costs will no doubt increase
with inflationary pressures. "In a truly inclusive system, the process
of identifying students who require additional support unveils further
and deeper needs. Currently 21 per cent of Nova Scotia students are
provided with supports for their special needs."
Programs like O2 and IB are protected in next year's budget but the
Reading Recovery program is being replaced. "We continue to hear
positive things from parents and teachers about the success of this
program. We don't have a clear direction of what will replace it and
how we will adequately support struggling readers."
Allen is also concerned about the loss of coordinators, administrators
and mentors from the system over the next few years. "These positions
not only provide support for the many initiatives and programs offered
in the system, but they also support teachers, which ultimately has an
effect on the students in the classroom."
The Council of Atlantic Provinces' Teacher Organizations is composed of
representatives of the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants
francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick, New Brunswick Teachers' Association,
Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association, Nova Scotia Teachers
Union, Nunavut Teachers' Association and Prince Edward Island Teachers'
Federation. CAPTO regularly holds joint meetings to formulate policy
and discuss issues facing public education.
SOURCE NOVA SCOTIA TEACHERS UNION
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