Nova Scotia

Most school boards still searching for pre-primary staff

Just weeks before the launch of pre-primary classes across Nova Scotia, school boards are still on the hunt for people to staff the 50 classes promised by the Liberals in this spring's election campaign.

Liberal government promised 50 pre-primary classes at 43 sites by end of September

Most school boards are still trying to find the people they need to properly staff the new pre-primary program. (CBC)

Parents anxious for confirmation that their four-year-old will start pre-primary this month may have to wait a little longer.

That's because most school boards are still trying to find the people they need to properly staff the 50 classrooms promised by the McNeil Liberals in this spring's election campaign.

Only two boards have completed their hiring to fill jobs in their specific regions — the Tri-County Regional School Board, and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial.

The other boards are still in the process of hiring staff, according to the Department of Education.

  • Annapolis Valley Regional School Board (1 position left to fill) 
  • South Shore Regional School Board (1 position left to fill) 
  • Halifax Regional School Board (3 positions left to fill)
  • Chignecto-Central Regional School Board (interviewing candidates)
  • Strait Regional School Board (interviewing candidates)
  • Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board (1 position left to fill, manager)

According to a news release, parents will be notified and their spots confirmed by boards once those boards have completed their hiring. 

'We have a lot of work to do'

Despite the tight timeline, the Education Minister Zach Churchill remains confident the McNeil government can live up to its election promise.

"We anticipate that the sites we have committed to be open will be open for this fall," he said. "We have a lot of work to do but all of our partners are working very diligently every day to make sure that we execute on that promise.

Education Minister Zach Churchill said he's confident the government will live up to its election promise. (Rob Short/CBC)

"We're very excited to be moving forward with this program. We know how important pre-primary education is for our kids. It's linked to success in their academic environment, their social environment and we're going to get this program in place as soon as we can."

In fact, on Thursday, his department gave the Halifax Regional School Board the green light to create a second class at Joseph Howe Elementary School.

"The number is evolving at this point," Churchill said. "As the boards vet their registrations on a site-by-site basis, that might have implications for how many classes that we do need to have open for this fall."

Meanwhile, the government has hired Len Preeper, a former political adviser to former Liberal premier Russell MacLellan, to consult with existing daycare operators and early child-care providers to try to smooth the way for the next round of pre-primary openings.

Churchill said those discussions would start this fall.