Reading Recovery hit by cuts at 9 Island schools

Nine P.E.I. schools are having their Reading Recovery program cut.

Program designed to help Grade 1 kids with reading and writing

Nine P.E.I. schools are having their Reading Recovery program cut.

Principal Noreen Lisi, of Cardigan Consolidated in eastern P.E.I., said in the brief letter sent home to parents Tuesday that the school is losing 2.25 teaching positions, part of 32 being cut across the provincial school system.

Reading Recovery, a one-on-one program designed to help kids in Grade 1 who need help with literacy, is being cut at nine Island schools in order to help deal with those cuts.

The English Language School Board says some smaller schools no longer have enough students to allow for the program to be offered.

Cynthia Fleet, superintendent of the English Language School Board, says the nine schools affected have Grade 1 enrolment of two to 17 students.

“And we know that to meet the requirements of Reading Recovery, we would need at least 20 students in a class,” she said.     

Fleet says the school district will find other ways to ensure students in the smaller schools get the literacy support and help they need.

She says she will be meeting with the education department to talk about how to deliver supports for students with limited school resources.

The cut led to an outburst during question period from Opposition leader Steven Myers Wednesday.

"Obviously literacy doesn't mean anything to this education minister, if you're from a small rural school on Prince Edward Island. If you're from Cardigan it's not important; if you're from Georgetown it's not important; to this minister it's not important to him, Madame Speaker," said Myers.

"The kids who need the most help in literacy right now this minister is throwing under the bus. It's death by a thousand cuts and it's shameful."

Education Minister Alan McIsaac said the school board is making tough decisions right now about where to place teachers.

Last year government struck a deal with the P.E.I. Teacher's Federation to cut 70 teaching positions over two years. The government had previously announced that 32 of those would come in 2014-15.

A total of 106 positions have been cut since 2012.

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