Nova Scotia

Dexter defends education cuts

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter says it's "flat wrong" to say his government is cutting education, despite a 1.3 per cent overall funding cut to school boards this fiscal year.

100 more teachers despite declining enrolment, says premier

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter says it's "flat wrong" to say his government is cutting education, despite a 1.3 per cent overall funding cut to school boards this fiscal year.

Dexter defended the planned $13.4 million education funding cut before a business audience Wednesday in Halifax, saying it is necessary given the province's continual decline in enrolment.

After his speech to the Nova Scotia Chamber of Commerce, Dexter said the ratio of funding per student has actually increased under his government, adding that the 1.3 per cent cut is a recognition that the system must adapt to declining enrolment.

"It's disingenuous to try to pretend that demand can decline and decline and decline and you don't do anything about addressing it," Dexter said.

"It's simply the fact that the money that we're putting into delivering education to each student is increasing."

Enrolment across the province from Primary to Grade 12 is expected to drop this year by 1.7 per cent, the government said.

"We've lost 30,000 students out of our Primary to 12 system over the last 10 years. We lost another 2,500 this year and yet we have 100 more teachers than we did 10 years ago," said Dexter.

"Is this the right way to continue to fund the system? We want money to flow into the classroom to the kids to make sure that they get the kind of educational training that they need."

He said the number of people delivering the programs have to correspond with the demand.

School boards have said this year's cut will mean teacher layoffs at a time they're being asked to expand some programs under a new education plan aimed at strengthening classroom instruction in areas such as mathematics and skilled trades training.

It follows a $17.6 million reduction in funding last year.

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