65 job losses in new school district structure

The province's new school district boundaries will result in 65 positions being eliminated system-wide, along with other changes, such as more support for teachers and principals, the education minister announced on Thursday.

Education Minister Jody Carr announces more details about restructuring

The new school district boundaries will result in 65 positions being eliminated across the province, along with other changes, such as more support for teachers and principals, Education Minister Jody Carr announced on Thursday.

Carr previously announced the Department of Education was slashing the number of school districts to seven from 14.

But additional details about the reorganization have now been finalized.

"We are announcing a completely new model and innovative structure designed to provide the best education possible for our children," said Carr.

"This was not a traditional cost-cutting measure — rather, an examination of what the system is and what it could be," he said.

Two more announcements regarding early childhood development and inclusion, and student support services will be made in the coming weeks, said Carr.

Under the new structure, the four new English district offices will be located in Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton and Miramichi, said Carr.

The three French districts will be in Dieppe, Tracadie-Sheila, and Edmundston.

No cuts in classrooms

The reorganization will mean 65 staff reductions, but none will be in the classroom, said Carr. They are mainly in administration.

"Every effort is being made to minimize the effects on those who will be directly affected," he said.

The Department of Education will maintain the same number of teachers in the coming year, despite a drop in student enrolment, said Carr. That's because there are other issues to deal with, such as bullying, he said.

Meanwhile, a network of education support centres will be created to ensure teachers and principals have access to the resources and services they need, said Carr.

"Educational leadership, coaching, advice, support and supervision and overall management will be assured through senior educational staff assigned to the…support centres," he said.

In addition, the administrative duties of principals will be reduced to allow them to focus on dealing with education issues, said Carr.

Schools will also be organized into clusters of four to 12 schools and teams of principals will be working within these clusters to identify and share best practices and resources and problem solve, he said.

A new position — director of education support services — will also be created to provide leadership and co-ordination of programs and services that support inclusive education and intervention.

Superintendents will be accountable for student achievement, budget and policy development, supporting district education council governance and engaging the community as partners in education, said Carr.

There will not, however, be any punishments or penalties for superintendents, he said, because they don't work.

The estimated $2.4 million in savings from the reorganization in 2012-13 will be reinvested in schools, Carr said.

The new model is based on more than 500 submissions from across the province, as well as meetings with stakeholders, he said.