HALIFAX, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - The union representing thousands of school board
workers across Nova Scotia is applauding a recommendation from the Special
Needs Review Panel to phase out so-called 'Tuition Support Agreements'.
CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh says, "Tuition Support
Agreements represent what amounts to the introduction of 'school vouchers'
into Nova Scotia. While we can understand parents' frustration with the
inability of an under-funded and under-supported public school system to meet
the needs of their children, we cannot accept the government's response which
has been to wash its hands of the problem.
"What the government seems to be saying with these agreements is 'we
can't help you, take your per-pupil grant and go to a private school.' This
approach may be benefiting a small number of students, but as a long-term
policy it is the wrong direction," says Cavanagh.
"We couldn't agree more with Report chair Walter Farmer when he says the
idea is to get the education department to stick to the principle of providing
all services to all students within the public education system.
"As currently constituted, the Tuition Support program lacks fairness. It
is only readily available to students in Metro Halifax and to a lesser extent,
the Valley. And it is only accessible to students whose parents are able to
afford to pay the difference between the per-pupil grant and a school's
tuition fees," he says.
As part of its brief to the Review Panel, CUPE recommended the provincial
government ensure that boards are able to meet the need for Teaching Assistant
hours by funding any additional positions required and/or restoring 100%
positions, as a good starting point for improving services to special needs
For further information:
For further information: Danny Cavanagh, President, CUPE Nova Scotia,
(902) 957-0822 (cell); John McCracken, CUPE Communications Representative,
(902) 455-4180 (o)