Education Media release

Media release: Parents deserve transparency about cuts to local schools

Date: May 12, 2021

Halifax, NS — Parents and school communities deserve to be consulted on staffing changes at  local schools and shouldn’t learn about deep teacher cuts through social media, says NSTU  President Paul Wozney. 

He is calling on the Halifax Regional Centre for Education to release a full breakdown of  teaching cuts at Halifax area high schools to prevent further unnecessary speculation online.  The NSTU fears that cuts are the result of an HRCE decision to eliminate Unassigned  Instructional Time (UIT), which is used to support individual student and school learning and  safety needs. 

“Many teachers received notice yesterday that their positions were being eliminated for the  upcoming school year,” says Wozney. “This information is starting to trickle out through social  networks which is creating anxiety for parents and students at a time when they are dealing  with enough stress.” 

Wozney says it’s devastating for a teacher to learn they won’t be coming back to a school they  love. 

“Teachers are heavily invested in their students and their schools. At the best of times, this is  difficult news for a dedicated teacher to receive, but given the year they’ve just been through,  this is an extremely bitter pill to swallow.” 

The NSTU believes that whenever there is a reduction in teachers at a school, it has a  detrimental impact. After two academic years disrupted by COVID-19, the HRCE should be  augmenting supports wherever possible not making cuts. 

“This will be a loss for these metro area schools and the quality of education will suffer,” says  Wozney.  “Students who are struggling academically are going to lose a lunchtime tutor.  Talented student athletes are going to lose a favourite coach. Aspiring young artists are going to  lose a mentor or club leader. And there will be fewer people available to monitor hallways to  prevent bullying and ensure safety protocols are being followed.”

The NSTU has been raising concerns for weeks regarding a possible cut to UIT time in Halifax  area schools and conducted a survey of teachers to determine the impact such a decision  would have. The results of the survey clearly demonstrated the need, especially during the  pandemic, for this additional school resource. The results have been shared with the HRCE.

(Featured photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash)