School board aims for fewer teachers

Jason Malloy
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TRURO - There will be 33 fewer teachers in central and northern Nova Scotia classrooms come September if the regional school board passes a recommendation next month.
But superintendent Noel Hurley said Wednesday there would be no pink slips because the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board has 64 teachers retiring at the end of this school year.
"We're actually, board-wide, in a net hiring position for teachers," Hurley said.
"We have more retirements than we do cutbacks."
But will there be a noticeable effect in the schools?
"The observable impact on the class will be negligible," the superintendent said, noting there are more than about 24,000 students and 1,500 teachers at 80 schools across the region.
The reason for the reduction in teaching staff has to do with a declining student population. The board receives funds from the province based on the previous school year's student population.
A year ago, the board had 500 fewer students, plus a new school in Indian Brook resulted in 300 more students leaving the board system.
Based on the provincial formula, the board has to reduce its teaching staff.
The board is expected to debate a motion from its finance committee at next Wednesday's committee-of-the-whole meeting. It would still need to be passed at the board meeting May 13. Hurley said a straw vote of two-thirds of the board members showed there was support for the motion.
A year ago, the board used about $1 million from its accumulated surplus to not reduce the teaching staff. But that fund is depleted to the point where the money remaining is needed to maintain its cash flow throughout the year.
"We're being fiscally responsible because next year we may be faced with the same thing," Hurley said, noting the strong potential for future declining enrolments.
The board has started notifying the schools about how they will be impacted under the proposal.

Organizations: Central Regional School Board

Geographic location: Northern Nova Scotia, Chignecto, Indian Brook

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