There will be fewer teachers in classrooms across the municipality this fall under a proposed budget that school board members will vote on tonight.
But Halifax Regional School Board’s director of financial services assures no one will be laid off, adding there will be nine new educational program assistants and four new math coaches for the 2009-10 year if the budget is approved.
“We’ve had over 100 teacher retirements, so nobody loses a job,” Richard Morris said. He also said declining student enrolment is playing a role in the reduction of teaching positions, which equates to 26 full-time positions.
Overall, Morris said board staffers have managed to “maintain the status quo” in crunching the budget, which adds up to more than $408 million.
But he said “there’s very little wiggle room,” explaining there are about $2.3 million worth of educational initiatives that won’t be addressed this year, such as a French Immersion review.
Nevertheless, he said his team has managed to squeeze an additional $540,000 into its lunch hour supervision budget, or about 350 extra hours of child care each day.
Supervision fees sparked debate in fall 2007 when some parents protested the board’s annual $200 bill for parents of students who live within walking distance of school but stay for lunch.
An Education Act amendment passed soon after forced boards to start covering the costs of lunch supervision for all students starting in 2009-10.
“We don’t at this point have a really good handle on how many students are going to be staying for lunch,” Morris said. “This is going to be a learning year.”