PEI

P.E.I. teachers' union president saddened but hopeful about proposed changes

The president of the P.E.I. Teachers' Federation says she's saddened by the proposed closure of five Island schools, but hopes any changes will improve education for students.

Bethany MacLeod says union will work to ease uncertainty for affected teachers

The president of the P.E.I. Teachers' Federation says she's saddened by the proposed closure of five Island schools, but hopes any changes will improve education for students.

The Public Schools Branch released draft recommendations Tuesday that included the rezoning of some schools and the closure of Georgetown Elementary, Belfast Consolidated, St. Jean Elementary, St. Louis Elementary and Bloomfield Elementary. 

"This has all been done for the purpose of making a better education for our students, and we're happy that government will hopefully address these class composition issues that have existed for so long," PEITF's Bethany MacLeod said, referring to teachers' workload as they attempt to teach students with learning disabilities, behavioural issues or other struggles. 

She noted that the government has promised the teachers affected by closures will not lose their jobs.

Working through uncertainty

"You definitely felt for the teachers and for the principals and students that were involved in all of the recommendations or that were going to be affected by them," she said.

MacLeod, who told CBC News she planned to visit some of the schools Wednesday, said her most important task was making sure the union is there to support teachers, administrators and students during the uncertainty.

She said it's unlikely teachers will be made to move "all the way across the Island" if their schools close, and she's "hopeful" that won't happen.

"We are constantly going to be meeting with the Public Schools Branch … and we're going to make certain that teachers are aware of what's going to happen."

​The union will have its next meeting with the government on Monday, she said.

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I. and Natalia Goodwin

now