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.