Yesterday’s budget short-changed students in the public system, the Nova Scotia School Boards Association says.

The announcement of a 4.9 per cent increase in the total amount spent on public education will only cover the basics, said association president Elliot Payzant in a news release.

“We can’t continue to tread water if we want Nova Scotia to be viewed as a leader in public education,” Payzant said.


The province spent just over $1 billion on public education in this year’s budget. All 13 schools on the province’s capital construction list received funding this year, Education Department spokesman Dan Harrison said.

About $2 million will go toward expanding a high school co-op program to Grade 12 and to 10 more schools.

The government is also spending $4.6 million to change the age of entry date for Grade Primary students.

The province went back on its promise to cap Grade 4 classes at 25 students, at a saving of $4 million. Instead, Grade 4 classes will be capped at 28 at a cost of about $900,000.

Education Minister Karen Casey said it was too expensive to cap Grade 4 classes at 25, and absorb additional Grade Primary students through the age of entry change.

Liberal education critic Leo Glavine said the new cap is a setback.

“All of a sudden you take an extra one or two (students) and you’re back to 30, where many classes are now,” he said.

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