Back to school
P.E.I. schools won’t be losing 28 teaching positions after all
The provincial government has reversed its decision to cut 28 teaching positions from Prince Edward Island schools this fall.
That change came after the English Language School Board consulted principals over the past two weeks to determine how many teachers will be needed this fall.
Education Minister Hal Perry said the change was made through a collaborative effort.
“The 28 (teachers) is what they were asking for,” he said.
Those 28 teachers are expected to cost the province $1.5 million. Perry said he was told the money would be available through the Department of Finance, but was unsure of the impact.
It was only two weeks ago that concerned parents and teachers staged a rally outside the legislature in Charlottetown to protest the government’s plan to cut 28 teaching positions in English Language School Board schools.
Last month the province confirmed plans to eliminate those positions through attrition due to what Perry said at the time was declining enrolment.
At the time he said the projection for the fall was 300 fewer students.
Since then, the P.E.I. Teachers’ Federation (PEITF) walked out of contract negotiations over the issue before returning to the bargaining table after the government agreed to review the cuts.
Federation president Bethany MacLeod said Wednesday she is pleased to see the return of the classroom teaching positions.
“The PEITF’s meetings with government at the end of June were instrumental in these positions being returned to Island schools. We were confident after those meetings that the 28 positions would be returned,” said MacLeod.
“Government wanted to ensure that any positions being returned would go into Island classrooms and we agreed with government’s desire to concentrate on front-line services.”
The Opposition also raised the issue in the legislature almost daily and the latest projections estimate an increase of 120 students enrolling this fall.
In its initial news release on the change, the government said 28 additional teaching positions would be added to the allocation for the fall.
Perry clarified they will be in addition to what was budgeted in the spring.
That means it is a reversal of the cuts announced and won’t be more than what was in place last year.