Judy Foote, MHA for Grand Bank District, says she is concerned that the
Department of Education will be moving forward with its plan to cut another
23 teaching positions at schools on the Burin Peninsula.
"With all of the
new revenue this provincial government has at its disposal, and the number
of recent funding announcements, government should be living up to its
election commitments on reducing class sizes," said Ms. Foote. "Continued
cutbacks will not help the education of our students. These reductions will
reduce course offerings and increase class sizes, something that Minister
Hedderson said was unacceptable when he was in Opposition. If it was
unacceptable two years ago is should be unacceptable to him today"
Government announced in last year's budget that they would be eliminating
476 teaching positions over two years. Last year, 111 teaching positions
were eliminated in The Eastern District, including 10 teachers from schools
on the Burin Peninsula.
"Last year's cuts had a negative impact in schools on the Burin
Peninsula. The loss of teachers and reading specialist positions has had a
significant and detrimental impact on students and teachers throughout the
province. It is now more difficult for teachers to help children who need
additional support and diagnosis. It has also increased workloads and
removed much needed resources from the classroom. The removal of the reading
specialists in particular did irreparable harm to the inroads that had been
made in helping those children who had reading difficulties. This government
has failed in its responsibility to take a leadership role in improving
literacy rates in our province.
"As well, the consolidation of school boards included the establishment
of satellite offices with significant staff reduction in areas of the
province. This decision left schools without adequate access to extra
resource personnel. These cuts will continue to have a negative impact on
our education system.
"It is not too late for government to change its mind regarding these
cutbacks. The upcoming budget will provide an opportunity to re-invest back
into education, not continue funding reductions. Education is not a luxury,
it is a necessity. It is important for the residents of the Burin Peninsula
to lobby government, including Burin-Placentia West MHA Clyde Jackman, a
former teacher in our region, to put an end to cuts in the education