Opposition Leader Gerry Reid says cutbacks to secretarial hours are having a
negative impact on schools around the province and their ability to complete
administrative tasks on a daily basis.
This year, hundreds of secretarial hours have been cut from the
secretarial budget of the school districts around the province. Some
full-time secretaries have been reduced to part-time hours, others have had
their part-time hours drastically reduced. While these people are not in the
schools, work continues to pile up and administrative functions are
beginning to suffer. Many principals around the province are now finding
themselves having to take time from their regular duties to complete daily
tasks that are normally completed by the school secretary.
"It appears these cutbacks were not well-publicized by government or the
school boards," said Mr. Reid. "Many parents and students are only now
realizing the impact these cuts are having on classes and their access to
the school. I have spoken to principals from all school districts who have
expressed their concerns on what these cuts have meant for their workloads.
Instead of focusing entirely on their school management roles, principals
are finding themselves answering phones and completing administrative tasks.
"As a former teacher, I recognize the importance of secretaries in our
schools. Their role is vital in dealing with teachers, students and parents,
and ensuring the efficient operation of the school. From answering phones,
completing daily tasks, ordering supplies and completing budget inventories,
their function is extremely valuable.
"It is unfortunate that this government feels it is acceptable to
continue gutting our school system. First, there was a focus on reducing
teachers in the classroom, over 400 positions have been eliminated over the
past two years. Now, schools have to deal with reduced hours for their
secretarial support. Where will these cutbacks stop? For a government that
claims to be committed to education in the province, their actions certainly
demonstrate the opposite. I call upon Minister Hedderson to reverse these
cutbacks and give the school boards in the province enough funding to ensure
that secretarial hours are returned to their previous levels."