Public education faces impossible choices

DARTMOUTH, NS, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - Nova Scotia's education partners - school boards, teachers, administrators and parents - are seeking a 3.6 per cent increase (status quo budget) for public education in the Province's 2010/11 budget. This amount excludes any wage adjustments for 2010/11.

The partners are launching a lobby campaign - Save Grade 2 (www.SaveGrade2.com) - to emphasize the impossible choices the system is facing.

"Our primary goal is to reinforce the Government's belief that continued investment in public education will chart the course for the future economic prosperity of the province." says Ron Marks, president of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association. "We acknowledge that the Government faces a monumental challenge to correct the fiscal health of the Province. Therefore we have modified our request for the 2010/11 budget year to a 3.6 per cent increase."

No increased funding in our province's education system will result in cuts that will seriously impact the quality of education for Nova Scotia's 130,000 students. These cuts could include: 800 fewer teachers, larger class sizes, combined classes, fewer teacher supplies (i.e. textbooks), school closures, cuts to programs including music, physical education, the International Baccalaureate, French Immersion, special education and alternate programs for students at-risk, as well as modified busing that could lead to 1.5 hour bus rides for children.

The announcement of a $525 million deficit in Nova Scotia further intensifies the financial crisis education is facing. "Every public sector is vying for funds from the Government; however an investment today in education will save our province future costs in health, community services and justice," says Marks. "Investing in public education is a smart growth strategy for Nova Scotia."

The partners are urging the public to contact their MLAs and attend the upcoming provincial consultations on finance to ensure public education is a top priority in the provincial budget.

SOURCE NOVA SCOTIA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION

For further information: For further information: Sharon Findlay-MacPhee, communications manager, NSSBA, (902) 491-2856 (w), (902) 221-6881(c); Angela Murray, staff officer, public relations & communications, NSTU, (902) 479-4708 (w), (902) 497-0194 (c); Dr. Noel Hurley, president, ANSEA, (902) 538-4606 (w), (902) 679-8743 (c); Janet Walsh, president, NSFHSA, (902) 421-2663 (w), (902) 864-0235 (h); Léonard LeFort, président, FPANE, (902) 224-5300 (w), (902) 224-0578 (c)

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NOVA SCOTIA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION

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