Dexter government cutting education funding

The Dexter government is making another budget cut this term and no one is happy about it.

By Kristie Smith

St. Patrick's School, now closed (Kristie Smith photo)

The Dexter government is making another budget cut and a lot of people aren’t happy about it.

This time, the axe is falling on public schools. The cut would take away millions from Nova Scotia’s public education system. Schools could lose another 350 teaching positions and 10 per cent of their previous budget. The announcement was made last month and comes at a time when Nova Scotia already contributes the second least out of any Canadian province in per-pupil funding.

Groups representing concerned teachers, school boards, parents and others are campaigning against the cuts. One petition has more than 9,000 signatures. The website, kidsnotcuts.ca, invites anyone who opposes the cuts to sign the petition and even get in contact with their MLA. It provides a pre-written letter and all the contact information.

httpv://youtu.be/C2F74jiqWE8

The campaign is called Cut to the Core, using the time old image of a teacher’s apple being sliced to the center to demonstrate the severity of the cuts this budget would inflict.

Nova Scotia Teachers Union, one of several groups behind Cut to the Core, spoke out late last month in a press release on the funding cut.

“Education may not be a priority for this government, but it certainly is for the Nova Scotia public,” said president Alexis Allen. “Last year we lost 343 teaching positions, and with the budget cuts facing boards again this year we will lose another 350. That will mean larger class sizes and less support for students who need it most.”

The Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations (NSFHSA) is also outspoken against the cuts.

“Parents are already digging into their own pockets to pay for things that schools just don’t have a budget for anymore,” says Vanda Dow, NSFHA president. “I hear from parents every day who see the effect of last year’s cuts in the classroom. It is impossible to cut the budget anymore and not have our students’ education suffer.”

Past News Releases by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union
February 23, 2012
February 10, 2012

The facebook group for Cut to the Core has more than 2,000 likes and comments from concerned parents of children with needs, to retired teachers, to former students of the Nova Scotia public school system.

Christina Arnoldin Mrkonjic wrote: “I work as an educational program assistant and children with special needs have already lost enough because of previous cutbacks. Everyone needs to sign the petition for not only children with special needs, but all children.”

Another commentor, Tasha Lightfoot, said, “Shame on the Dexter government and to Ramona Jennex, a former classroom teacher who knows what these cuts in funding will mean for our students and for our province as a whole. Disgraceful.”

“We believe the Minister of Education is misleading Nova Scotians by suggesting that a nearly 10 per cent cut to the education budget (when you consider this year and next year) will ‘put students and learning first,’” says Allen

“Parents should be concerned that these successive two-year cuts to education will strip out millions of dollars that pay for programs and services to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners.”