School board braces for 22 per cent budget cut
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.
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.