School board braces for 22 per cent bud­get cut

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - PARRSBORO&AREA - BY ROSE WIL­LI­GAR

PARRS­BORO - School boards across the prov­ince have been given the task to cut 22 per cent of their bud­gets and on Jan. 17 the Chignec­toCen­tral Re­gional School Board (CCRSB) held the first of 22 meet­ings at Parrs­boro Re­gional High School in­form­ing par­ents and staff how such a bud­get re­duc­tion could af­fect their school.

It won't be known whether or not these cuts will be a re­al­ity un­til the end of April to the first of May when the board's bud­get is re­leased by the prov­ince.

School board di­rec­tor of hu­man re­sources Al­li­son McGrath said the board was ap­proached by the govern­ment to put to­gether the plan and it has been pre­sented to the deputy min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion, the min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion and the deputy premier but the board has not re­ceived feed­back on the pro­posed bud­get.

"We thought it was time to in­form the pub­lic about the chal­lenges the board could be fac­ing if these bud­get cuts move for­ward," McGrath said.

The di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices, Scott Mil­ner, in­formed the group gath­ered at the school of pro­grams that would be in dan­ger if these bud­get cuts were to move for­ward.

Among pro­grams in jeop­ardy would be class cap ini­tia­tive, read­ing re­cov­ery, in­ten­sive short term lit­er­acy in­ter­ven­tion, in­ten­sive math sup­port, French im­mer­sion, cour­tesy bus­ing, bus/lunch su­per­vi­sion - non bus stu­dents, li­brary ser­vices, sec­ondary fine arts/mu­sic/phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

In ad­di­tion to pro­gram cuts, staffing re­duc­tions would also be nec­es­sary with an over­all 22 per cent bud­get cut, he said.

Elected CCRSB board mem­ber Mackie Ross said the schools within the board rank 13th in­ter­na­tion­ally and fifth in Canada.

"We are the low­est funded and we rank fifth in the coun­try," Ross said.

"The CCRSB has been tasked with dis­man­tling the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem it took years to build," he added. Mil­ner echoed his sen­ti­ments. "We are do­ing well with what we have," he said. "To go back­wards now will be harm­ful to the fu­ture pros­per­ity of Nova Sco­tia."

Mem­bers of the CCRSB will be trav­el­ling to 22 schools over the next few weeks in­form­ing res­i­dents, stu­dents and staff about the po­ten­tial im­pact of such cuts would have on stu­dents and their fu­ture.

Peo­ple can stay in­formed on this mat­ter by check­ing the board's web­site at ccrsb.ca.

Board mem­bers were en­cour­ag­ing the pub­lic to con­tact their MLAs and min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion and the premier on this mat­ter.

ROSE WIL­LI­GAR  THE CIT­I­ZEN

Chignecto-Cen­tral Re­gional School Board mem­ber Mackie Ross ad­dresses those in at­ten­dance at a pub­lic in­for­ma­tion ses­sion on Jan. 17 at Parrs­boro Re­gional High school ad­dress­ing po­ten­tial bud­get cuts the school board may face next year.

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