Education partners call for a continued investment in public education

    BEDFORD, NS, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - Nova Scotia's education partners are calling
for a continued investment in public education. The partners, including school
boards, teachers, administrators and parents, will be asking the public to
urge their MLAs to put education first in this year's provincial budget. The
partners' group will be outlining their position at a news conference on
Thursday, January 15 at 10:30 at Ecole Beaubassin, 54 Larry Uteck Boulevard in
    The partners will be launching their lobby campaign - Public Education:
Our Best Investment! - to remind both the government and the public that in
these difficult financial times education is an investment that guarantees
dividends for all Nova Scotians. "The overall trends in education in Nova
Scotia are up", says Ron Marks, president of the Nova Scotia School Boards
Association. "Student achievement is up and the dropout rate is down. We need
an increase in funding of at least 4.5 per cent in this year's budget to
maintain that trend."
    The partners indicate that if no new dollars are provided for public
education this year the result will be serious reductions in services for
students. These reductions would include massive staff cuts, both teachers and
support staff; changes to programs, including music, physical education, the
International Baccalaureate, French immersion, special education and alternate
programs for students at risk; larger class sizes and modified busing.
    Opinion polls commissioned by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union over the
past several years clearly show that health and education are the top two
spending priorities for Nova Scotians. Says Marks, "There is a critical link
between education and health, and research shows that investing in education
now means a reduction in health costs later."
    The partners feel strongly that with minimal increases in education
funding over the past two years, reductions in this year's budget would spell
disaster for Nova Scotia's students. The most vulnerable students would be
affected and that would mean a huge step backwards for public education. More
information is available at

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. Norman Dray, president, ANSEA, (902) 538-4606 (w), (902) 679-8743
(c); Janet Walsh, president, NSFHSA, (902) 864-0235 (h), (902) 421-2663 (o)

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