NLTA opposes public sector cuts

Andrew Robinson
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Says education needs improvements; pre-budget submissions similar to 2012

Lily Cole

The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association (NLTA) does not like the chatter coming from the provincial government in advance of the 2013 budget.

Without cuts, the government says, the 2013 budget would have a $1.6-billion deficit. Earlier this week, it announced a public sector hiring freeze, and both Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy and Premier Kathy Dunderdale have stated departments will experience cuts in the next budget.

“We’re saying right now is not the time to cut education,” NLTA president Lily Cole said. “Our students in this province, Newfoundland and Labrador, deserve the best education possible.”

Cole said the NLTA is worried the K-12 system may be the victim of a disproportionate cut.

“We are already hearing that without any cuts, teachers are needing more resources to meet the needs of the diverse population of the classroom, so with the announcement that there’s cuts definitely coming, we are certainly concerned that will affect the classrooms and our students,” Cole said.

The NLTA has already outlined the areas where it is looking for improvements in education through its pre-budget submission.

It mentions the need for resources and professional development to make the inclusion model for students with special needs work, an improved teacher allocation system, more substitute teacher days to accommodate professional development and family leave, external paid supervision for students at lunchtime and more human resources for integrating technology in the classroom.

All of those issues were listed in last year’s pre-budget submission to the government.

In that submission, the NLTA said the 2011 provincial budget “was very much status quo for primary, elementary and secondary education in the province.”

It also labelled the 2012 provincial budget as one that offered “no improvements” in a news release issued after that budget’s release.

“In the last three pre-budget submissions we have presented very similar concerns in our classrooms that our teachers are constantly telling us (about),” said Cole. “If that was a time when they were saying that their budget was fine, then we obviously are very concerned with the conversations that Minister Kennedy and Premier Dunderdale are having in the public.”

Talk of a tight budget might also concern teachers in light of the fact their contract with the government expired at the end of last August. Cole said the collective bargaining process is being left in the hands of the NLTA’s negotiating team.

“All those things, we will not be going public with,” she said.

If Newfoundland and Labrador hopes to remain prosperous, the government must consider education to be “an investment in society itself,” Cole said.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew


Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, MORE RESOURCES

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Recent comments

  • Mark
    February 21, 2013 - 08:55

    I'm not saying that the provincial government should slash the education sector as a whole. I completely agree that education is the greatest investment. What I am saying is that excess positions should be cut and the money could transferred to other areas of the sector. I would like to see more money going towards early years learning and post-secondary education.

  • vince dwyer
    February 20, 2013 - 15:13

    Cutting education is not the answer the only way forward is with a highly educated workforce .Our Country is riding on it`s own coat tails from prior grades on the education system as they quickly dismantle it .Cutting education is closing off the province of having any tech companies show a interest in setting up shop on the island .Think about what this really is education is a must for our children province and country .Companies do not move into areas with lacking work force You can cut education now and pay for it ten fold later when under educated under trained people can not get jobs and live off the system .it`s a proven fact . Other country reconize this and are spending twice as much as we are on education one of the reasons so many companies are setting up shop abroad

  • Mark
    February 20, 2013 - 08:51

    This is the first place that the provincial government should cut. NL has the lowest ratio of teachers to students of any province in Canada (about 1 teacher for every 13 kids, the last time I checked). I'm sorry to say that a lot of young people left the province and had kids elsewhere, and besides, people don't have big families like they used to. The bottom line is that with half as many kids in our school system than in the early 1970s, there is a large opportunity here to save money.

  • Seriously?
    February 20, 2013 - 08:38

    We have a population of over 500,000 people and seriously folks, the best person we can pick to look after our well being is Dunderdale? Come off it. I know she got elected on Danny's coat tails but lets face reality, she is not a leader, and NL seems to be on the decline ever since she was elected. As for the deficit, this isn't rocket science. A monkey could govern this tiny province when oil prices are up. Now that prices are back to reality, its time to see what the PC party can do. Their natural reaction is to cut, cut, cut. While cuts may be the answer in some areas, it's certainly noot the soultion in education. For people with knowledge of the School system, (obviously not referreding to GWB above) they know that teachers are overworked, under a great deal of stress, and forced to deal with many isses not related to their job. Yes they are paid well in some cases, but if you figured out what they really worked for per-hour it would shock you. I know teachers who work evenings and weekends just trying to get things ready for their children. Likely caused by the fact they spent half of the day before dealing with behavioural issues, family matters, etc. Teachers today are expected to be educators, social workers, friends and some time parents. To save money in the edctaion system you have to look at the School Boards, and of course the crew at the top of Confedertaion Building. The ongoing joke among teachers who are tired of the classroom is 'how can we get to the board office". They know once they go to work there, things are stress free, quiet, and relaxing. If we are serious about the skilled labour shortgaes we are facing and the poor results of our students in certain areas, we need to put MORE money into eductaion but in the right areas. Cuts to this area is the same as shooting yourself in the foot.

  • roy
    February 20, 2013 - 08:24

    I think the Govt should appoint Randy Joyce as an expert in consultation. He could run around to all unions and consult as to what they are willing to give up or want Then he could run around to all towns and municipalities and see what they would give up or want then he could run around and get their feelings again, then he could run around and talk to the unions again oh he could keep runnuing around forever consulting. No one wants positions, hospitals, roads, schools or anything else taken away or defered. so i would hope if appointed he has good legs do do the running around. As for me i want everything i can get and more, i'm human i think. Just a thought , the govt could give all the unions what they want a nice raise in pay to offset taxes then raise taxes and say to hell with everyone else. Unions are at a point where it is us or them meaning unions or the rest of the people

  • John Smith
    February 20, 2013 - 07:41

    Speaking of Austerity measures - WHAT ABOUT ALL THIS INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL?? OUT OF PROVINCE TRAVEL?? How about restricting this or actually looking at the return on investment. I bet its not the general service employees or unionized employees participating in this travel. Talk about travel costs, per diems, accomodations, entertainment expenses, wish somebody would look at that.

  • GWB
    February 20, 2013 - 06:22

    Teachers are paid more now then ever, have a good pension, get all holidays and summers off. I am not saying it is easy but the content of subjects doesnt change much every year so that portion gets less dificult every year. I must say though since this expensive system is churning out students who can't find the atlantic ocean on a map, and think Europe is a country(according to a recent survey at mun) what is our money actually paying for? Id rather see the cash on go to roads or health care. Just my opinion.