When the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board was ordered to study the impact of a 22 per cent funding cut it wasn't a surprise when board officials started talking about worst case scenarios that had it cutting $34 million over three years and eliminating 664 full-time equivalent jobs.
Now that the board has passed its budget, and implemented a mandated two per cent fundring cut for the coming year, everyone is supposed to breath a sigh of relief thinking at how much worse it could have been. Despite this, the cuts announced by the board at its June meeting on Wednesday will harm the classroom, even though the board and the Department of Education claims the impact will be minimized.
To meet the mandated funding cut, the board is cutting administration costs by 15 per cent, it's accommodating a 50 per cent reduction in direct provincial funding for teacher mentors and its replacing reading recovery with a new literacy initiative.
In terms of positions, it has removed 8.5 full-time equivalent consultant positions and has removed 17 teaching positions due to declining enrolment while the board is reducing administration by attrition, cutting professional development and travel and reducing various education services regional supply lines.
In total 43 positions are being eliminated throughout the board.
Now that the board has done the deed forced upon it by a cost-conscious provincial government we will now see who was right - was the province correct when it said reductions could be made by cutting top heavy administrations or was the board correct to say the cuts it made will have a detrimental impact on student learning and results in the classroom.
The fact is both are probably right to a certain degree since many boards across the province, including this one, sometimes tend to have a bit more administration than required. However, cutting too many mentors, administrators and consultants will impact the classroom and has the potential to increasing the crack that students sometimes fall through into a chasm.