P.E.I. schools losing 28 teaching positions

Ryan Ross
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P.E.I. Teachers' Federation president Gilles Arsenault

P.E.I.’s education system is losing 28 teaching positions as the provincial government eliminates them through attrition.

And while the government plans to reduce staffing levels by not replacing retirees, P.E.I. Teachers’ Federation president Gilles Arsenault says they are still cuts to the system.

The latest cuts also come on the heels of several years of staff reductions through attrition, he said.

“That’s alarming.”

Arsenault said the government plans to cut 28 classroom teachers, along with seven positions at the board level and six in the Education Department.

Those changes mean there will be more split classes and larger class sizes, he said.

The changes to staffing levels affecting the English Language School Board come after the Liberals tabled their budget last week, which included an increase in grants to the school boards of $3.5 million.

That’s about one per cent more than last year.

No positions will be lost in the French Language School Board.

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Arsenault said the cuts are strictly a budgetary exercise and the government should look at factors like class composition when determining staffing levels.

“Numbers of students or enrollment numbers are irrelevant to determine the needs of the school,” he said.

People should be concerned about what is happening in the school system, Arsenault said.

“This system is back to the bare bones operation and it’s very hard for teachers and principals to try and operate under these circumstances.”

In response to the changes, Education Minister Hal Perry said the department has been asked to find efficiencies.

“We want to do it with a minimal impact on the classroom,” he said.

Perry said there will be about 40 retirements this year and together with declining enrollments there will be fewer full-time positions in Island schools.

The positions that are changing at the board level and at the department deal with curriculum delivery and development. Those employees will be moved to positions in the department, in the school system or in other departments, Perry said.

“Nobody will be losing any jobs.”

Perry said there are about 300 fewer students projected for September and the student to teacher ratio will only increase slightly.

As for the issue of class composition, Perry said the department is in discussion with the school boards and the PEITF.

“We’re committed to meeting the needs of students and we’re going to work with the teachers on class composition,” he said.

 

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Education Department

Geographic location: P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Math lessons please
    June 24, 2015 - 08:59

    I could use a lessons in division please? Although the average classroom is supposed to be approximately 25 students, and we all know that many classes are much bigger, if we were to divide 25 students per teacher by 300 students less would that not be 12 less teacher positions? Now, if we're to take 25 students per 28 teachers lost that would be 700 students. So know we're going to send a surplus of 400 students into the other already over sized classes? Appears the Liberals don't want our children having better mathematical skills than them!! That way when they say you can come work for us for $10 an hour we may think it adds up quickly..

  • reality
    June 24, 2015 - 05:12

    teachers are not united --parents have to stand up for teachers -- Most teachers are excellent !!!! Students and parents need that !!! The majority of teachers and students are being hurt by the PEITF, the government and this new minister I implore the teachers and parents of PEI to scrap the PEITF ONCE AND FOR ALL this would be a good first step in freeing teachers and students from the grasp of political puppets

  • Probs with the math
    June 24, 2015 - 02:29

    Hmm yes, this does make sense. Class size has been an issue for some time, there has been an increase of students needing additional resources, children who test on the autism scale has increased, test scores provincially are low, new teachers can't get jobs for lack of work. It all adds up to, "What the heck is the government thinking?" And I am not a rocket scientist.

  • david
    June 23, 2015 - 19:16

    If the number of students is dropping then obviously you don't have to be a University President to know you don't need as many teachers. It is utterly silly to try an argue for the same number of teachers when the number of students has declined. If numbers are down in one area then move those teachers to the schools that need more teachers. Teachers don't have an anchor tied to their asses they can actually travel to the school where they are needed.

  • don
    June 23, 2015 - 15:41

    we thank you islanders you done it again you just caused more families to leave the island so there kids can be taught. and just like ghiz wade fooled you. so when your young grand kids are no longer here give your selves a pat on the back and say i am proud to be a liberal.

  • Jimmy Buffet
    June 23, 2015 - 15:16

    People wanting French immersion should attend a private school where they pay for this luxury out of their own pocket . The same thing if you want to study any other foreign language , piano lessons or acting classes . You want one hour a day of instruction in these fields , bring it up at a school board meeting , maybe they can fit that in .

    • Buffet?
      June 24, 2015 - 08:43

      Since when is French a foreign language?

  • Fed up
    June 23, 2015 - 14:23

    I hope you non thinkers who voted this bunch back in are proud of yourselves!

  • Anti-Liberal
    June 23, 2015 - 12:55

    It's as evident now as it has been the past few years that our Government and business leaders do not want our children getting the best educations available, and Why? Perhaps because educated people will not work for the poverty level wages that Island companies are only willing to supply. So what if the teachers are maxed and stressed out to the limit with their huge class sizes, as long as they're paying their union dues!!! Keep pushing the children who can't read and write through because failing them is no longer an option so they can work those minimum wage jobs when they get out. I have the upmost respect for Island Teachers (but not the education system), and they need to start banding together. They are supposed to be union, but I think they forget what it means to be that. One voice means nothing, but many are all powerful. They need to stop sitting quietly on the sidelines accepting the fate of others. They need to rise up, let their voices be heard, and start displacing the trash that's supposed to be representing them on the frontlines. Next time it could be them. Also our children will suffer the wreckage of their silence!!! If Islanders won't work for slave wages they will just take in more Temporary (Permanent) Foreign Workers and we'll all be on welfare unless we leave... It's unfortunate people can't see this coming, because it's happening everywhere else!!!

    • Wow
      June 23, 2015 - 17:38

      That tinfoil hat you're wearing must be a tad tight.

    • Anti Liberal
      June 24, 2015 - 08:41

      I'll take that as a compliment from a Liberal...

  • A former Island teacher
    June 23, 2015 - 11:33

    Islanders get what they truly deserve: the Liberal government that they voted for! It will be great for Island teachers to be finally rid of this very inept PEITF president in July; when he is rewarded by the Liberal government, by being appointed to the Education Department! Good ridence!

    • Izzy
      June 23, 2015 - 17:58

      Interesting how a former teacher could spell riddance so badly.

    • david
      June 23, 2015 - 22:31

      This goes to show why the Education System needs a major overhaul and reform. When 'A Former Island Teacher' can't spell it certainly shows why our kids have been getting a very bad education.

  • Frustrated Islander
    June 23, 2015 - 11:18

    Michael Redmond was 100% right this morning on the news when he said and asked where is the PEITF and why aren't they fighting for this? I will tell you why; Gilles Arsenault was a Liberal candidate and just got a fine job with the Department of Education, so why bite the hand that feeds you. The other staff members are also all Liberals. The last negotiations, the PEITF accepted losing 70 teaching positions on PEI and did nothing when that number reached 100. The last contract, the PEITF did not want to go to arbitration for their members when they negotiated a 1% + 1% increase over 2 years. But yet, the just went to an arbitration process for themselves and they (the PEITF Professional Staff) just got a 9.6% salary increase over one year. And they will receive a further increase after the negotiations for the teachers are completed. So where is the PEITF; they are with the Liberals that are cutting into the PEI education system, they are not with the PEI teachers. Sad, very sad to be a teacher on PEI and not having a body that is fighting for you.

  • Hazel
    June 23, 2015 - 10:51

    Another aspect of this is the large immigrant population who have arrived in PEI through the PNP Program, and mostly in the Charlottetown and area schools. The new children are trying to learn the English language and need a lot of attention in the classroom from the teacher. This takes a lot of attention away from the other children and it is not fair to the teachers or the students. Class sizes need to be adjusted to accommodate this or assistance for these teachers must be provided. Doing away with teaching positions is not the answer. Also, lets give our new young teachers a chance and stop hiring retired teachers to substitute positions.

  • HarryKrishna
    June 23, 2015 - 10:39

    As I have already remarked elsewhere: every teacher I know voted Liberal. So I guess they are prepared to live with the results.

  • A Teacher
    June 23, 2015 - 10:22

    Last week when the Minister of Education announced the installation of Wifi in all island schools at a cost of $4,000,000. This will be of little benefit to our education system and only useful for the odd research project when most Island schools already have internet in their computer labs. It will, in my opinion just be another distraction for students...like cell phones. The $4,000, 000 would have been better spent to maintain teaching positions so that as enrollment declines, student teacher ratios can improve to a reasonable level.

  • PEITF not fighting for teachers
    June 23, 2015 - 09:58

    Michael Redmond was 100% right this morning on the news when he said and asked where is the PEITF and why aren't they fighting for this? I will tell you why; Gilles Arsenault was a Liberal candidate and just got a fine job with the department, so why rock the boat that feeds you. The other staff members are also all Liberals and sleep in the same bed. The last negotiations, the PEITF accepted losing 70 teaching positions and did nothing when that number reached 100. Thelast contract, the PEITF did not want to go to arbitration for teachers when they negotiated a 1% + 1% increase over 2 years. But yet, the just went to an arbitration process for themselves and they (the PEITF Professional Staff) just got a 9.6% salary increase over one year. And they will get the amount they will negotiate for their members on top of their 9.6% increase. So where is the PEITF, they are with the Liberals that are cutting into PEI education. Sad, very sad to be a teacher on PEI.

  • I know first hand.....
    June 23, 2015 - 08:26

    I know that it is very disheartening to be losing so many teaching positions, but you must realize that most of those positions have not been in the school allotments for many years now. People need to be told that the English Language School Board is to blame. They have has as many as 15, or more, teaching positions in Board Office positions for many years. These are positions that could have been in the schools helping the children and they chose to make them consultant positions. Blame the school board, they seemed to think that it was more more valuable to be top heavy rather then be at the school level. As much for the French Language School Board not losing positions - they do things a little more sensibly. They may have positions allocated to the French Board Office but they are IN THE SCHOOL WITH THE KIDS!!

  • I know first hand.....
    June 23, 2015 - 08:11

    I know that it is very disheartening to be losing so many teaching positions, but you must realize that most of those positions have not been in the school allotments for many years now. People need to be told that the English Language School Board is to blame. They have has as many as 15, or more, teaching positions in Board Office positions for many years. These are positions that could have been in the schools helping the children and they chose to make them consultant positions. Blame the school board, they seemed to think that it was more more valuable to be top heavy rather then be at the school level.

  • you get what you voted for!
    June 23, 2015 - 07:55

    I hope that everyone that voted liberal are happy with their choice..... Sad part is the one's that's going to pay for your lack of good judgment is the children......

  • Indigo
    June 23, 2015 - 07:51

    Ironic to see the two sotries on CBC last night, ---- 6 students graduating from the French School in Souris. Not French name in the lot of them. This class of 6 has been going through from grade 1. An abomination and a disgrace of waste of resources, and for what??? So 6 people can get designated government jobs, while other kids get a diminished chance, --- some democracy, some equality. Great way to discriminate, ----. Our politicians cater to this kind of 'elitism', for the sake of the votes. Wade being one of them with his French policies. Why was there no cuts to the French School Board??????????????.

    • Tracey
      June 23, 2015 - 14:49

      Not having a French name says nothing about your first language not being french. Just the same you can have a French name (Arsenault, Gallant, Robichaud) but not speak a word of French . You could enroll your child in the French school if you wanted to...stop complaining.

  • dawn
    June 22, 2015 - 21:10

    There's a list of schools that are going to be closed.......saw it this evening......

  • Union Spin
    June 22, 2015 - 21:09

    No one is taking the "grand standing by the President of the PEITF. He is not going to fight too hard on this issue. It is no secret, in July he will be appointed the director of French programs with the Department of Education. He is not going to go too hard after the Government. The Premier will reward him for being a good Liberal, and not pushing too hard. Too bad for the teachers and families of PEI that the "voice for the teachers" is going to leave this mess and go to the other side (Dept of Ed) next. Wonder what he will say about the cuts then, probably nothing as it is the English side that got cut. he will be in charge of the French side. On another note, watch for the teacher contract to be announced later this week. There will be no" upsizing the combo" for teacher's families this summer. 6% over 4 years is peanuts.

    • mutt
      June 23, 2015 - 13:24

      Well I got zero % over 5 years in the private sector so stop whining. Geez louise

  • disappointed
    June 22, 2015 - 18:32

    This is unbelievable. The PEI education system needs new investments, not tactless cutbacks. Wade thinks he'll get away with this because he's 4 years away from the next election and Gilles Arsenault being the bought-and-paid-for Liberal that he is will just sit down and eat crow. If you value our education system, go down to the legislature and make some noise!

  • Brighton Boy
    June 22, 2015 - 17:35

    PCs were going to balance the budget in a year without tax cuts or job loss. Not sure how that is possible but maybe we should have voted for them, they know magic. .

    • so sad
      June 23, 2015 - 05:21

      Why dont you blame it on Harper.

    • IBC
      June 23, 2015 - 07:31

      Come now did you believe them the are politician . Their mouths are open they are lying . We need to pray over them for them . That is why people are sending there children to french schools they get what ever they want .

  • John
    June 22, 2015 - 16:50

    This guy looks very happy for losing 28 teachers. Time to get a new leader.

    • Izzy
      June 23, 2015 - 09:38

      Wow. Judge much? Guess he should have posed with a frowny face. I mean, his comments don't mean anything, only the photo.

  • Big party
    June 22, 2015 - 15:22

    Weird, liberals toss 20 million on a summer party one year. Weirder, they cut teaching jobs due to $$ savings another year. Anyone who doesn't think this province isn't Pathetically back wards should take a 2-3 month vacation across canada then return here. PEI is mediocracy at its finest. A province where just before every election there is an announcement by government coming to the aid of the poor. Funny how that happens every 4 years. Other provinces try to stimulate the provincial economy and create jobs. Not PEI elections are won on handouts last minute to poor. Best advice I ever gave my son GET OFF THAT ISLAND as soon as school ends.

  • charlie brown
    June 22, 2015 - 15:13

    Funny the french language schools are always bypassed in these cutbacks? I notice all the work done at the school on acadia drive and am just amazed at the money spent? Could there be a little discrimination involved ?

    • Teacher
      June 22, 2015 - 17:09

      Right! Guess where the PEITF President will softly land later this year. He is also a former liberal candidate. Strange eh?

  • Islander
    June 22, 2015 - 13:53

    I am not a fan of many aspects of our education system and as a province we have declining enrollment so fewer teachers makes sense. However, I read on social media that over the last 3-4 years that 129 teaching positions have been eliminated? Is this true or does anyone have a site/source with the actual number of teaching positions eliminated in recent years? If this number is accurate, looks more like gov't saving $ than anything else. Tough choices must be made to curb spending/debt but our record in education suggests that this area can least afford to lose teachers. Also, no new teachers get hired...the ones that bring new ideas and energy to the classroom!

  • Garth Staples
    June 22, 2015 - 13:51

    Gilles Arsenault former Liberal candidate for federal nomination did a lot of dancing around the issue during an interview I heard on CBC. Was he trying not to be too hard on the Liberal Govt and its newly minted stand-in Minister? Follow this story closely.

  • Realist
    June 22, 2015 - 13:41

    Well all Islanders and the PCs and Greens and NDP, wanted a balanced budget. 70% of the provincial budget is staff. You are either ignorant, naive or a combination of both if you think a budget cannot be balanced by either cutting services (staff) or raising taxes! And to say roll back MLAs, etc, etc would only be a drop in the bucket. What is unfortunate is we do not know how this will affect the classroom.

  • SUPPLY TEACHERS
    June 22, 2015 - 13:04

    No retired teachers should be allowed to supply teach.... those positions should be filled by teachers needing work experience. This would probably keep many young teachers from leaving the province.

    • Supply Teachers 2
      June 23, 2015 - 16:42

      I fully agree with you yet the PEITF do even worst. One of their "Professional Staff" has been collecting his full pension for the past 3 years and he is still receiving $110,000 + year salary doing the same job but as a "consultant". The PEITF continue to do what is forbidden for their members to do. i.e. Doing the same job while receiving their pension.

  • James
    June 22, 2015 - 12:51

    Our children's future on the Island looks more grim each year. We have our first child on the way and I'm seriously concerned about their quality of life in 10-20 years!

  • Brutus
    June 22, 2015 - 12:44

    I feel bad for the teachers but once again that's what the fellow islanders get for voting this Government back in. I think Gilles seen this coming as he was trying to win the nomination to run federally also there will be more cuts this is just the start folks.Instead of cutting teachers positions whynot offer packages to the ones who have enough years as well as the ones that work on the road crews there's enough shovel leaning going on there. I'd like to see my tax dollars put towards education and healthcare once again another broken promise.

    • Observer
      June 22, 2015 - 14:05

      You voted for it!

  • Quiet Observer
    June 22, 2015 - 12:06

    Numbers of students and enrollment numbers are irrelevant? This gentleman's credibility just went out the window.

    • Observer
      June 22, 2015 - 17:22

      Irrelevant may have been a poor choice of words, but he does have a very valid point! The numbers are misleading as they don't take into account transfers and class composition i.e. EAL students, disabilities and behavioural issues which can greatly impact the classroom.

  • Looks Good on Ya Gilles!
    June 22, 2015 - 11:22

    Its your own Liberal cronies doing the cutting and hacking! Pathetic