New Brunswick

Serge Rousselle, education minister, defends teacher cuts

New Brunswick's minister of education says there may be fewer teachers in provincial schools this year, but more money is being spent on education in other ways.

Rousselle says educational assistants (EAs) will help make up the difference

Education Minister Serge Rousselle watches a coding class at the Fredericton Public Library in Nov. 2014. (Brilliant Labs/Facebook)

New Brunswick's minister of education says there may be fewer teachers in provincial schools this year, but more money is being spent on education in other ways.

The president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association spoke out this week, warning parents that they will see effects in the classroom from the loss of 249 teaching positions.

"The bottom line is that when you have an education system that's already stressed and with high needs and you take out 249 teachers, front line teachers at that, who do an excellent job, then you're going to feel the impact of it," said Guy Arseneault on Wednesday.

The provincial government announced the reduction in teachers in the March budget.

However, Serge Rousselle says the difference is being made up elsewhere, such as in the number of educational assistants (EAs). He says that in 2000, there were 1,200 of them in the education system. Last year, there 2,460.

"And remember, we went from 125,000 students to 98,000 students at the same time," he said.

Rousselle says the student-teacher ratio in N.B. is 13:1, a ratio he says is quite low.

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