NL Federation of School Councils

Provincial Budget Memo

Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils

Representing School Councils, Parent Advisory Committees, Home and School & Parent-Teacher Associations

 

Dear School Councils Members,

The impact of the draconian provincial budget imposed on our childrens education has rolled back progressive gains made over the last twenty years. Our system already on the verge of collapse has been gravely set back.

As an Executive, it is hard to difficult to reflect our dire disappointment with governments approach. Our children are our future, by limiting their future government is only exacerbating and institutionalizing the tremendous disadvantages we already face.

These cuts will have severe, long-term impacts that will put the students of this province at an extreme disadvantage for years to come.

Schools will not be able to deliver the same level of services they have in the past, and the educational needs of our students will not be met. Government simply cannot go down this road of myopic cuts and expect the outcome to be a quality education for our children.

This budget finances full-day kindergarten at the expense of the rest of the system. They have increased much vaunted class cap sizes, introduced multi-graded classes in 70 schools and 135 classrooms and done nothing to address the crisis in the delivery of inclusive education. 204 teachers have been removed from the system.

Government has not only failed to address the serious deficits in inclusive education, it has reneged on its promise to do so. This draconian budget will exacerbate these deficits and make teaching classrooms of diverse learners overwhelming. It will increase the administrative burden on principals as they try to meet the needs of their students. It will most certainly exponentially increase the stress felt by teachers who have been called to the honorable profession of educating our future generations.

The Minister of Education further showed his distain for the advocacy of the NLFSC by cutting our grant despite a commitment by the Premier himself to reinstate our traditional operating grant and allocate $500 to School Councils so they could meet the potential as defined in the Education Act.

School Councils are one of the few, if not the only, organization whose purpose is enshrined in provincial legislation without the benefit of financial resources. Premier Dwight Ball not only spoke to the importance of school councils at the NLTA Education Debate on Nov. 18, he committed to fund them more appropriately. Instead government cut NLFSCs budget by $3.800.00 bringing our grant to $21,200.00 almost less than half of where it was a few years ago.

Ironically the organization that represents one of the largest groups of volunteers in our province was singled out for cuts during volunteer week. Government showed its obvious disregard for the group who are committed to enhancing the quality of school programs and improving the levels of student achievement in our schools.

With this allocation, the federation is supposed to support an executive director, ensure communications, respond to policy choices, participate in peer discussions, advocate and pay associated expenses. We will continue to provide school councils and parent groups with a voice on educational issues and advocate even harder for parental involvement at all levels of education.

Below you will find a summary of the major features of the Provincial Budget that will impact classrooms and our students. Please remember, NLFSC is still trying to access, tabulate and determine the impacts on classrooms and schools.

  1. Allocations:
  • Increases to Class Size Caps
  • Kindergarten same as last year
  • Grades 1-3 same as last year
  • Grades 4-6 going from 26 to 28
  • Grades 7-9 going from 29 to 31
  • High School < 100 in grade teachers allocated on basis of 1:24
    • was 1:21 < 30 in grade
    • was 1:24 30-100
  • 100 in grade teachers allocated on basis of 1:29
    • was 1:28
  • RESULT: Reduction of [97.75] teaching units and larger class sizes

 

  1. Combining Grades in Grades 1-6
  • Where numbers exceed the class cap in Grades 1-6, they will take the number above the cap and combine with one coincidental grades; for example, for 34 Grades 4s, six will be in Grade 3 combined or Grade 5 combined.
  • This will impact 70 schools and 135 classes.

RESULT: Reduction of [69] units and more multi-grading (including urban areas)

 

  1. There was going to be a reduction of 32.5 teaching units due to declining enrolment; however, 27 of 32.5 units will be kept for Inclusive Education.

RESULT: Reduction of [5.5 units]

 

  1. There are 31.5 teaching units which were utilized by the NLESD in a curriculum or support manner such as: TIPS LITE ICF CSF and extra French Immersion support in Grades 4-9 which will be eliminated.

RESULT: Reduction of [31.5 units]

Total Reduction: 203.75 Teaching Units

FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN ALLOCATIONS

 

  • There will be an increase of 142.5 teaching units for full-day Kindergarten.
  • One hundred and fifteen (115) hours per day of Student Assistant time for full-day

Kindergarten has been added.

NET REDUCTION of teachers after new kindergarten teachers are hired: 61.5 units. Keeping in mind that any new teachers are purely the result of needs related to a brand new program. They do not replace or supplement the over 200 teachers cut this year, or the 300 cut in the last few years!

 

OTHER POINTS

  • No change to Pervasive Needs/IRT (categorical) allocation [330].
  • No change to the basis for specialist allocations Guidance Counsellors, Educational Psychologists, Speech-Language Pathologists or the number of Itinerants that support students with exceptionalities.
  • No reduction in Whitbourne Youth Centre teaching allocations [4].
  • Further reductions in teaching allocations are expected due to five school closures, which may occur (school closures being voted on by NLESD Trustees on Saturday, April 16).
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
  • Funding reduced by $393,000
  • SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS
  • The substitute teacher budget is reduced by $1.559 M from last years budget of $32.036 M.

The complete Budget can be found on:

http://www.budget.gov.nl.ca/budget2016/expenditure/expenditurereductions.pdf

 

NLFSC encourages school councils, parents, grand-parents, students and the entire province to contact (email, call, fax) their representing MHA and demand they reverse the decision to cut more teachers from schools!

Tell government Education has already been cut to the bone!

Tell government you are not willing to allow them to balance the budget on the backs of children!

Tell government you will not forget!

The link below will provide you with the name, number, fax and email of your MHA

http://www.assembly.nl.ca/members/cms/membersdirectlines.htm