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MEMO-HEADER-PRES

APRIL 15, 2016

TO:     All Teachers
RE:     Provincial Budget 2016

This memorandum summarizes the major features of the Provincial Budget that will impact classrooms and NLTA’s preliminary reaction to this Budget.

I wish we had better news. I wish I could say that the negatives for education in the recent Liberal budget are outweighed by the positives. But I can’t. There’s no glossing over the negative implications of this budget for the education system. The current government has been singularly focused on addressing the province’s financial deficit.

This budget has turned a financial deficit into an education deficit. It has taken a provincial deficit and placed it on the backs of our students, parents, and teachers.

Over the past few budgets we have consistently asserted that spending on education is an investment in our future. We argued for the necessary resources and supports for the classroom so that teachers can meet the needs of their students in an inclusive classroom and school. Instead, the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development responded to our concerns with, “What part of a $2.5B deficit do we not get?” Our response is, “What part of an education deficit does Government not get?

This budget finances full-day kindergarten at the expense of the rest of the system, increases class caps, and introduces multi-graded classes in 70 schools and 135 classrooms where these multi-graded classes did not exist before. It adds 142.5 kindergarten teaching positions while removing 204 teachers from the rest of the system.

Government has failed to address the serious deficits in inclusive education and has reneged on its promise to do so. If anything, this 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.

The following outlines the impact of the provincial budget on our schools. It is time we all write the Premier, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, and our local MHAs to express our individual professional concerns about the negative impact these measures will have on the children of our province. If you choose to do so, please send me a copy as well.

Over the coming weeks we will be sending out more detailed information on the implications of the budget. For now, we need your voice.

ALLOCATIONS

1.    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

2.    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)

3.    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]

4.    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]

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  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.
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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 year’s budget of $32.036 M.

The complete Budget can be found on:

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