‘There's a lack of government collaboration with school boards and no shared vision ...' - Dwyer-James
TRURO - The local school board is frustrated with how a new provincial directive to cap class sizes in early elementary school could take shape.
The province of Nova Scotia has directed school boards to cap Grade Primary to 3 classes at 25 children. In Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, there are 31 classes out of 278 classrooms that have more than 25 children in primary to 3.
To deal with the new class size, the school board is expected to receive the full-time equivalent of five teaching positions. The funding provided for the additional staff is estimated to be about $300,000, which would equal about five positions that pay $63,000 each.
However, school board officials are frustrated. They feel with that many classes to reconfigure and so few new staff members, it will make for a less-than-perfect situation. They are also upset that the province has designated 45 teachers for the class cap initiative, with 35 of them going to the Halifax school board.
"There's a lack of government collaboration with school boards and no shared vision and it's not serving the students well," said Truro board member Angela Dwyer-James.
Board member Ron Marks added the allocation of extra staff is unfair.
"I don't know if we were treated fairly. Some school boards didn't get any (extra staff) and it's disheartening ... you can't trust the government anymore," said Marks.
CCRSB has a deadline of today to report to the Department of Education its suggestion on how to implement the initiative locally.
Scott Milner, director of CCRSB's education services, said the options include adding a teacher in some of the classes, adding an educational assistant where possible or doing nothing staff-wise.
It could also mean creating reconfigured classes, which according to Milner, "would be the most destructive for children, (especially) since they've been in school for a month."
The school board will also construct a letter to area MLAs to voice their dissatisfaction with the situation. As more decisions are formally made, school advisory committees will communicate updates with area parents.