May 10th, 2019

Education Minister must be transparent about decisions that impact classrooms

Halifax -- Education Minister Zach Churchill must release the full reporting of changes in school budgets for next year and explain how changes will affect students’ access to programs like Early Literacy Support (ELS) and Options and Opportunities (O2).

“The confusion around program funding and staff allocations in our schools is unacceptable,” said NDP Education spokesperson Claudia Chender. “We have many teachers and parents informing us of reductions in staffing at their schools, especially in the staffing levels for O2, but the department refuses to admit that these changes are being made.”

As many as a dozen schools are seeing changes to the level of ELS staff at their school and a number of high schools in HRM expect to lose almost a full staff position in the O2 program.

“How can the department and the regional education centres release statements saying there is no change in budget or access to services when we have heard from so many places that there are cuts?,” said Chender. “The Minister promised transparency, clear oversight, and a direct line of responsibility to his office when he eliminated elected school boards. The opposite has happened. Instead of a responsive and transparent elected body we have obfuscation and spin."

The Liberal government eliminated all English School Boards in 2018. Chender has sent letters to the Minister asking for confirmation of the level of supports for these programs for the 2019/2020 school year.