Students, parents and teachers have endured two of the more challenging school years in recent memory. With uncertainty and cuts already underway, the Liberal government and the HRCE are setting up next year to be just as difficult.
“Our first priority must be to support students,” says Dartmouth East PC MLA Tim Halman, “and teachers are the direct line of support for them. These cuts - and the timing of them - are completely mind-boggling.”
“The reality is that under this government, students have rarely had a year without some kind of disruption.”
Halman says much of the concern is the lack of transparency. Halman, a teacher turned elected representative, says that it’s always a shock when teachers receive layoff notices. Teachers have already lost positions at Bayview High School in Upper Tantallon (formally SJA), an area represented by Premier Iain Rankin and Liberal MLA Ben Jessome. A recent scan of Mr. Jessome’s social media revealed he has made no comment on the clawbacks. Many other cuts have yet to be made public and Halman is calling for a breakdown.
“I’m calling on the government to release the full details of these cuts,” says Halman. “Every Nova Scotian should know which supports Iain Rankin has allowed to be removed from our school system, at a time when kids will need more help.”
Halman notes that cocurricular and athletics were severely hampered by COVID-19. With Unassigned Instructional Time (UIT) on the chopping block, Halman says it’s the wrong move and that stability of routines will be needed when schools return in the fall.
“The Premier calls the shots,” says Halman. “He is allowing cuts to staffing and UIT going forward in the middle of a global pandemic while people are trying to keep safe.”
“We saw his hesitation to shut down schools during the third wave, but no hesitation on cuts to students and teachers. That’s telling.”