Staff cuts made as school board approves budget
Budget shortfall means 62 fewer staff positions at Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.
A budget shortfall of just over $4 million has led to a reduction of just over 62 staff positions within the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. Of the 62.5 positions to be eliminated, 48.5 will be absorbed by attrition, with the exception of 14 teacher assistants who will receive layoff notices, confirmed school board spokesperson Michelle MacLeod.
Superintendent Beth MacIsaac is optimistic that by the end of summer, the number of teaching assistants affected will be less than that.
“We won’t really know until the end of the summer if there are actually going to be 14 ( laid off ),” MacIsaac said. “We’re anticipating it’s going to be less than that but we just don’t know.”
MacIsaac said because funding is per pupil, declining enrolment means less money at the end of the day. For the 2015-16 school year, at this point, about 12,800 students are registered.
“About 10 years ago, right off the top of my head, it would have been around 24,000,” said MacIsaac. “We’re steadily decreasing.
“Your funding is per pupil and the difficulty is when you have the number of buildings that we have, 60 per cent of our buildings have over 40 per cent excess capacity so that’s quite costly as well.”
There will be no school closures for the upcoming school year. And even with the cuts and layoffs, there was still room to add an extra SchoolsPlus program, which will be based at Dr. TL Sullivan. There will also be funding for “targeted initiatives in literacy and math along with lower class sizes from Primary to Four,” according to the school board press release.
“It is the intent of the board through their long-range outlook to achieve savings and create further efficiencies in order to address some of the cost pressures over the next five years.”