P.E.I. schools 'scrambling' to meet staffing needs, says Opposition
Government promising 74 new front-line educator positions for this fall in new budget
School administrators will likely spend their summer hiring the 74 new educators promised in the 2019-2020 provincial budget, according to P.E.I.'s education minister.
The Progressive Conservative government's first budget, tabled Tuesday, included funding for 32 new teacher positions and 42 educational assistants to start this fall.
But along with new hires, the late timing of the budget also means some headaches for school administrators.
During Thursday's question period, Opposition MLA Karla Bernard told the legislature that principals and vice-principals were "scrambling" to figure out staffing allocations in their schools for the upcoming school year.
"Schools are in a panic," she said.
No hiring until after budget passes
Education Minister Brad Trivers said that's because no hiring for the 74 front-line positions can be done until the budget is passed.
In the meantime, he said schools were told to hire based on last year's budget numbers, with the expectation that more funding will be available once the budget is passed.
"This is why the timing of the election was such a big deal," Trivers later told CBC.
"It means [school administrators] are going to spend a significant part of their summer staffing the additional allocations."
'Unfortunate byproduct' of spring election
Trivers called it an "unfortunate byproduct" of a spring election.
He said the Department of Education will eventually be working with the school boards to decide where those positions will be allocated, but that too will have to wait until the budget is passed.
There was enthusiastic applause in the legislature when Bernard asked Trivers if he would commit to fixed election dates to ensure "this stressful mess" would not happen again.
Trivers said his reply was "[an] unequivocal yes."