Board projecting cut of 37.5 FTEs
Education Minister Ramona Jennex wants to ensure parents have the correct information about the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board's budget.
HALIFAX – Education Minister Ramona Jennex is reaching out directly to parents relating to what she says is misinformation coming out of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board about its budget.
“There has been a lot of misinformation circulating and I think it’s important for families to understand the situation at the CCRSB,” the minister said in a news release Wednesday.
“Despite the fact the school board will receive nearly $1.3 million more in funding this year for 370 fewer students, they ware discussing reducing the number of teachers. Our government has been very clear that the classroom is the very last place that should see funding reductions. In order to protect the classroom, the province is covering the cost of all negotiated wage increases and we’ve offered additional staff support to help boards fine efficiencies.”
Last week, the board announced 37.5 full-time equivalent positions will be cut because of a projected $2.5-million budget shortfall. No teachers will lose jobs, but those who retire won’t be replaced.
The board also said that operational services reductions could result in fewer buses and drivers, while property services will complete fewer maintenance projects. As well, $101,350 will be cut from administration and governance.
Jennex takes aim at the Chignecto board’s “unique administrative structure” that is organized around four families of schools. This structure, she said, employs more than 20 full-time employees and costs $1.7 million per year.
“This seems to be a better place for the board to look to for efficiencies,” the minister said.
The minister said the board threatened last year to disband all library services in order to balance the budget. She said that was unacceptable and the department worked with the board to produce a revised budget that protected the classroom.
“Now we see the board attacking teaching positions,” the minister said.
“Our government is committed to protecting what matters most, the classroom. It is time for the school board to get onboard and stop making proposals they know are unacceptable. The board knows that department staff are available to help them put together a budget that is in the best interests of students and families.
Board officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.