2 N.S. school boards defy minister and cut teaching jobs
Close to 50 jobs slashed
Buckling under provincial budget cuts, two Nova Scotia school boards say they are cutting close to 50 teaching positions despite objections from Education Minister Ramona Jennex.
The Chignecto-Central Regional School Board said it slashed 18 teaching positions due to declining enrollment, and 13 positions due to budget cuts.
Facing a $2.5 million budget shortfall, the board approved its 2013-2014 school year budget on Wednesday night.
The South Shore Regional School Board also approved its budget on Wednesday night cutting 17 full time teaching positions 2.5 support staff positions and a couple of office jobs.
It's also reducing spending on maintenance, transportation and other expenses.
Acting superintendent Jim Gunn said he is concerned about the impact on students.
"You can't take from the system and not feel the affect in the classroom," he said in a statement.
Jennex countered saying the cuts are not acceptable, but Chignecto-Central board chair Trudy Thompson said there's no other option.
"We’ve reduced bussing, we’ve reduced custodial work. We’re reducing every line. I’d like to speak with Minister Jennex and show her where and why we budget the way we do and maybe she’ll get a better understanding," she said.
The education minister said the board's decentralized structure costs an additional $1.7-million a year, and would be a better place to reduce staff.
Meanwhile, the Halifax Regional School Board approved adding 20 new positions at its budget vote. There will be 10 more education program assistants, four Mik'maq and aboriginal student support workers, two English as a second language teachers, two psychologists and two speech language pathologists.
The board also approved 3.5 custodial, technology and human resource positions.
It received an extra $8 million in funding from the province for the upcoming school year.