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MAY 26, 2016

Impact of Budget Cuts to Education


On April 26, in response to an NLTA news release expressing concern with increased class sizes and other education cuts, the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, Dale Kirby, stated he “doesn’t anticipate many job losses” and that it’s “unlikely more than a few teachers will lose their jobs as a result of cuts to teaching units.”

By May 7, just 11 days later, approximately 20 teachers were provided layoff notices, and approximately 320 teachers have been declared redundant from their schools and have been reassigned to other schools.

Government has decreased the allocation of teachers to high schools, increased class sizes in Grades 4-9, and multi-graded 135 Grade 1-6 classrooms in approximately 70 schools throughout the province. Supports have been reduced in Grade 6 Intensive Core French, and various support programs have been eliminated.

What does this mean for students?
Despite Minister Kirby’s assurances, the new school year will be anything but a smooth transition. There will be less time in every grade for teachers to meet the needs of their students. Teachers are already expressing concern about their ability to help those with the greatest needs. They fear that government measures will negatively impact student achievement, and will lower the attainment of educational outcomes. For their part, teachers will continue to do their best to meet the needs of their students.

What does this mean for teachers?
Between now and September, many laid-off teachers will find teaching opportunities in other schools and other communities. Those that do not will rely on replacement or substitute work, or receive limited redundancy pay. Unfortunately, Budget 2016 will mean fewer opportunities for young teachers to gain full-time employment.

Your NLTA will continue to assist teachers displaced from their positions, ensure their rights are protected, and ensure any relocation or redundancy benefits under the collective agreement are paid. Your Association will continue to urge government to invest in our students and schools and allow teachers to continue to change lives.

If you have not done so, I am asking you to contact your MHA and express your objection to a budget that attempts to solve a fiscal problem at the expense of our students’ success.

James Dinn
NLTA President