FREDERICTON – Parents and students will be quite surprised come September if they expect to receive the same level of services in the schools.
Despite the decision of the Minister of Education, Roland Haché, to put back some of the money that was slashed last March from the education budget, the services won’t be back at the same level. The cuts were made primarily to Teacher Assistants, Library Assistants and Behaviour Intervention Workers.
“The $2,9 million allocated to the districts is far from being enough to maintain the level of services. The districts have put back the money in libraries and the behavioural program, but they do not have enough money to return services to the students to the level they were at the end of the school year”, explained Sandy Harding, President of CUPE 2745, representing the Education Support Staff.
“In June, following the government’s decision to slash the education budget, 588 Educational Support Staff received their lay-off notice. About 75% of them have been rehired but the situation is far from being back to normal. Some Support Staff Workers have seen their working hours reduced drastically, others have to work in 2 or 3 schools in order to put in the same amount of hours. This means that the services won’t be there for the students”, added Harding.
“For example, in the Acadian Peninsula, 87 Education Support Staff received their layoff notice in June. Following the Minister’s announcement, the number of layoff notices to workers was revised at 80. Last week, those Support Workers had to reapply for their job. The majority were rehired but with reduced hours. The situation is also problematic in the Woodstock, Miramichi and Moncton regions where the money put back into the classroom was insufficient to restore the level of services”, explained Harding.
“Our concern is for the students in the inclusive education system. We were already bare-bones, we didn’t have enough resources. The layoff of even one Teacher Assistant means the reduction of direct services to student that will not get what they need and deserve. We are urging the Minister to at least restore the level of service to what it was before the last provincial budget”, concluded Harding