Roland Butler, Opposition Education Critic and MHA for the District of Port
De Grave, says while he is pleased with some of the funding allocated to
education in this year’s budget, the funding falls far short of what is
"There is a lot of smoke and mirrors in these announcements
today," said Mr. Butler. "This budget is a well-crafted public relations
document, but when you look at the details it does not live up to
expectations. For example, the government claims to be retaining 151
teachers, while in reality they have taken close to 500 teachers out of the
classrooms of this province over the past two years."
The opposition critic also says the school fees announcement is less
clear than it might initially seem. "There is no clear definition of exactly
what a school fee is and what is to be eliminated by this announcement. In
September, I expect a lot of people will be disappointed when they still
have to dip into their pockets and pay various fees related to school
attendance that will not be covered by the amount announced today. Parents
will still be responsible for the cost of school books, and in many cases it
is not unusual for parents with two high school children to spend upwards of
$1,000 on school books.
"The announcement of funds for new school busses is also a half measure
and will not fully address the real problems that exist in terms of school
bus safety. As an opposition, we have been calling not only for increased
funding, but also for a review of the regulations related to safety
inspections and the way tenders are called for this service in some school
boards. We need a total review of school bus safety in this province.
"I am also disappointed with the lack of attention in the budget related
to libraries in this province. There are currently 28 requests for new
libraries and the funding announced in this budget is a drop in the bucket
compared to what is needed. Despite the glossy presentation and all the
chest thumping by the Minister of Finance, there are still a large number of
serious problems which have not been addressed in our education system."