Impacts of cuts
Opposition highlights how teaching cuts affect each school
One by one, school by school, the Opposition Tories asked Education Minister Hal Perry to reverse each P.E.I. school’s teaching cuts.
Working from a list of teaching reductions it amassed from talking to P.E.I. schools, Opposition MLAs posed the same question over and over, going down the list of each school affected by these cuts, asking Perry to “confirm to the teachers, students and parents” that the number of teaching positions being cut at each school will be reversed.
Over and over, Education Minister Hal Perry explained that each school would have to submit a request to the school board asking for a reversal of its teaching cuts together with a rationale for why these teachers should remain.
“These positions are under review,” Perry said.
“Principals of all schools have an opportunity now to submit or advocate on behalf of their schools to the board who will then send recommendations to the department.”
Opposition MLA James Aylward said this process is tantamount to asking principals to beg for these cuts to be reversed.
“It’s wonderful that this education minister here is going to give principals across this province the opportunity to beg – to beg – to keep their staff positions in their schools to help educate our students,” he said.
“It’s quite obvious this is just a veiled attempt to make this issue go away until the legislature ceases for this session and they can do their messy work behind the scenes.”
The list of teaching reductions shows over 20 schools will be seeing reductions. The biggest reductions are at Westwood, Greenfield, Southern Kings and Charlottetown Rural – all with four or more positions being lost. Opposition Leader Steven Myers says his caucus has been getting frustrated with the “canned responses” by the minister over the last week of questions on teacher cuts.
That’s why they began going school by school, highlighting exactly how the reductions will affect each individual school, he explained.
“If a minister doesn’t want to share what the cuts actually were or if he doesn’t want to share with parents who would be impacted in their school, then we’ll tell them,” Myers said.
He highlighted Spring Park School in Charlottetown, where parents have raised concerns about overcrowding. The school was built to accommodate 450 students, but is brimming with over 600. Nonetheless, the school is scheduled to lose 1.88 teaching positions.
“That’s really concerning and Islanders should be concerned. It worries me that this government is trying to take education down with death by a thousand cuts.”
Perry says the review process offers a chance for schools and school communities to work with government on how best to support Island students.
“It’s never too late to reassess and review and that’s the opportunity we’re now giving to the principals and the school board.”