NSTU lo­cal pres­i­dent con­cerned about pro­posed pro­gram cuts

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY NANCY KING

The pres­i­dent of the Cape Bre­ton district lo­cal of the Nova Sco­tia Teach­ers Union says she is con­cerned about cuts be­ing pro­posed as part of the Cape Bre­ton-Vic­to­ria Re­gional School Board’s budget al­though she says noth­ing is set in stone un­til the budget is passed.

Sally Cap­stick was re­spond­ing to reports cir­cu­lat­ing that staff have been ad­vised that cuts are pend­ing to pro­gram ar­eas such as re­source, so­cial work, learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties and el­e­men­tary level art if the board passes the budget as cur­rently pro­posed.

“At this time of year, ev­ery year, we get the staffing num­bers ... I know peo­ple are frus­trated and I’m frus­trated,” she said.

She stressed that the cuts are not yet fi­nal as the elected board hasn’t voted on the budget.

With the art pro­gram she said it’s her un­der­stand­ing if the pro­posed cuts go ahead, reg­u­lar class­room teach­ers will be ex­pected to ad­min­is­ter the art pro­gram.

Board chair Dar­ren Goo­goo said the budget won’t be passed by the board un­til it re­ceives its fi­nal fund­ing num­bers from the province, which he doesn’t ex­pect to take place un­til af­ter the May 30 pro­vin­cial elec­tion.

“We’re mak­ing plans for the next school year based on pro­posed bud­gets … ev­ery­thing we’ve done so far is in draft form, sub­ject to change, ob­vi­ously, with money,” Goo­goo said. “We’re still go­ing through those de­lib­er­a­tions right now, noth­ing has been con­firmed.

“Staff were ad­vised that we’re in budget de­lib­er­a­tions.”

He noted the board is con­tin­u­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence en­rol­ment de­cline and its budget will con­tinue to shrink un­til that sta­bi­lizes or changes course.

When asked specif­i­cally about el­e­men­tary art, Goo­goo said, “there’s still go­ing to be art taught at the el­e­men­tary level. I can’t re­ally com­ment un­til we fi­nal­ize our budget what ex­actly is go­ing to hap­pen there.”

Un­der the NSTU col­lec­tive agree­ment, teach­ers are re­quired to be given a cer­tain amount of no­tice that they may not have a po­si­tion in the next school year, she added.

Cap­stick noted that in re­cent years cuts to the board’s teach­ing staff have been made through at­tri­tion. This year, there are about 30 teach­ers ex­pected to re­tire and, if past prac­tice is any guide, they likely won’t be re­placed, she said.

“Un­til the budget is fi­nal­ized, and even then things can change … noth­ing is writ­ten in stone,” Cap­stick said.

She added that she’s con­cerned that when pro­grams are cut it dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fects the most vul­ner­a­ble of stu­dents.

“It kind of flies in the face of what the province said that it was go­ing to do to elim­i­nate some of the wait times for test­ing and things like that,” she said.



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