Nova Scotia

Halifax school board passes 2011-2012 budget

The Halifax Regional School Board said Wednesday it is losing $9.75 million in funding from the province.

Halifax Regional School Board voted unanimously to pass its final budget for 2011-2012 at a special meeting Wednesday night.

The Halifax Regional School Board said Wednesday it is losing $9.75 million in funding from the province.

No teachers will be laid off, but there will be fewer on the payroll. 133 teachers are leaving the system through attrition — retirements and parental leave — saving the board $4.2 million.

There were 35 positions cut at board headquarters, equaling a savings of $2.4 million.

The board will also save $2.5 million by reducing costs for school custodial services and fuel.

It also plans to crack down on teacher sick days.

"We're taking a risk in predicting the amount of lost time by teachers in our schools and we're reducing that. So we can have that money available to us," said Irvine Carvery, chairman of the board.

The board said each teacher takes between 10 and 12 sick or bereavement days a year which will have to change, said Carvery.

"I think it's a matter of having the discussion with school staff, so that everyone is aware of the challenges that we're facing," said Carvery. "And more importantly to ask for their help in achieving the things we want to achieve."

The board wants to save $140,000 by calling in substitutes 850 fewer times next school year.

The details of how it will force teachers to take fewer sick days aren't yet clear.

The teachers union said it wants to hear what the board has in mind before it makes any public comment.