'Lighter and leaner' P.E.I. education system says Minister Currie

Teresa Wright
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Education Minister Doug Currie says government will pursue a more focused approach to education with structural changes happening this year, including 32 administrative job cuts.

Reorganization, remove duplication of duties will decrease 32 administration positions, but no teacher cuts  

A total of 32 positions will be eliminated when P.E.I.’s English Language School Board is eliminated later this year, but no teachers or education front-line workers will be cut.

Education Minister Doug Currie provided an update Wednesday on the changes to P.E.I.’s education system that will see the school board integrated into the education department.

This reorganization and removal of duplication of duties will see a decrease of 32 positions in administration.

The number of front-line positions — teachers, educational assistants, youth service workers — will not decrease, Currie said Wednesday.

FACT BOX: Summary of Education changes

“We recognize how important it is for everyone to know, as early as possible, the number of front-line staff for the coming school year,” Currie said.

“The whole principle of this, besides the focus on the learner, is that the number of teachers in front of Island students is not changing… We’re holding the line on the number of teachers.”

Of the 32 positions that will be eliminated, 22 are senior positions within the department and school board as well as curriculum positions and coaches. The remaining 10 positions are board support staff, mainly to be eliminated through attrition, Currie said.

No layoffs are anticipated as a result of these positions cuts, he added.

A number of the individuals working in these positions were on secondment from Island classrooms, and have teaching jobs to return to. The rest will have the opportunity to apply for openings as existing teachers retire.

An average of 30 to 35 teachers retire every year, Currie said.

Anyone affected by the cuts can also apply for several new positions to be available in a new Public Schools Branch that will be created within the education department. It will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school system, including hiring front-line educators and school staff, student transportation and student services.

A new Education Act will be introduced in the upcoming spring session of the legislature outlining the new education structure.

The newly integrated education department will have a total of 118 staff supporting the early learning and education system.

“You’ve got an organization that’s going to be lighter and leaner,” Currie said.

“It’s going to be more effective and more strategically aligned with a new set of priorities.”

Currie stressed the new education structure and position cuts are not cost-saving measures. Rather, their aim is to streamline P.E.I.’s top-heavy education bureaucracy and place focus back on classrooms and students.

“This is about the learner, achievement and moving toward excellence.”

Opposition education critic Steven Myers says he was hoping to see more detail about the structural changes happening within the department.

He was cautiously optimistic about Currie’s assertion front line teaching positions would be protected.

“Those teaching positions are ones we’ve been fighting for a long time for, but just to keep the numbers that they have but I know there are increases needed in some areas,” Myers said.

“We’re going to continue to keep an eye on that to make sure government at least lives up to their promise to not reduce those numbers, but we want to ensure that all the schools are treated fairly and have the adequate resources that they need.”

The integration of the school board into the department is expected to be complete before the beginning of the September 2016 school year.



Organizations: English Language School Board, Public Schools Branch, Newly integrated education department

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Recent comments

  • J
    April 01, 2016 - 08:08

    Sick Parent, very well said. I hope you are on committees representing both your children and teachers. Also included in the classroom make-up are children suffering from mental and emotional issues due to alcohol/drug fetal syndrome, discipline issues, and basically lacking manners and respect. Another issue which will affect those beginner teachers entering the current system is that graduates of Holland College's Two Year Childcare Program/ U.P.E.I.'s two year education program have been combined to create a four year B.Ed degree, not recognized outside P.E.I. and are currently being allowed to teach in the K-3 system. This has been allowed because the old Level 4 certification was never taken off the books years when teaching certification changed and so was easily brought back. those teachers are supposedly in Play Based Learning and this is the direction Early Education is going. However; even though those individuals are allowed to teach in the current system, teachers who have graduated from the 5 and 6 year Education Program are not considered qualified to teach in the kindergarten system. figure this one out!

  • dave anger
    March 31, 2016 - 16:54

    They just spent 10 million to upgrade the french school and are cutting back the English school we need some fairness.

  • Cape Traverse Observer
    March 31, 2016 - 16:38

    I listened to Doug not answering Bruce Rainey's simple question last night in a 3 minute word salad which revealed absolutely nothing. Superb job of obfuscation ! Wade will give you a gold star or do a face plant or something i guess.

  • Joe Blow
    March 31, 2016 - 15:37

    Doug Currie is a baffoon!! All he does is cut jobs from deserving people instead of cutting jobs from rich snobs that are working jobs created by government as a favor to friends to make them rich. I can think of dozens of jobs that can be cut at Innovation PEI, The Liquor commission, IRAC and Health PEI that are not needed and were only created as favors to friends or family. Lets start there instead of making our youth suffer.

  • Quiet Observer
    March 31, 2016 - 14:42

    Now it's time to start clearing a lot of the "specialists" who keep coming up with new ways to teach. Why not get back to the basics where our children learn how to read from a book, write on paper, spell without spellcheck, add without calculators? Develop their minds as thinkers, not as keyboard plunkers. The grammar and basic math inabilities of our high-school graduates is scarey.

  • Parent
    March 31, 2016 - 09:45

    It is about time something is done, - but let us see if it rally will make a change. Our child in grade 3 was falling behind in math, and we are paying dearly and sacrificing greatly for him to catch up at Sylvan. By the looks of the crowd using Sylvan, it must be a problem for many more parents. It is a disgrace to be overtaxed by the Province and then need to pay for getting the children properly educated. I wonder what happens to all the kids, whose parents cannot afford Sylvan? Our politicians have failed us, while they strut around , overpaid and gold plated pensioned off. Sickening.

    • no thanks
      March 31, 2016 - 14:00

      the parent is the prime educator !!!

  • Phil
    March 31, 2016 - 08:14

    Could we call this 'Education Lite'?

  • Garth Staples
    March 31, 2016 - 07:48

    Remember when PM Harper's Govt purportedly cut 21 positions at DVA City Council and all lefties cried and said all manner of things. NOW the lefty Liberal Govt cuts 32 good paying jobs and City Council says not a word. They were too busy raising their salaries (substantially) thus adding to the deficit. How funny is that?

  • Disgusted
    March 31, 2016 - 07:39

    3 mla's per county is all we need to run this small province..there's where the cutting should be. The top levels of government that make the highest wages need to be trimmed if we want to make a difference here wade!!!!! Front line workers is what Pei needs not just made up positions just because!!!! PEI is in trouble here with the financial mess GHiz and Sheridan left us in. Wade it's now your responsibility to work on it and I think you have to start from the top down to resolve this mess.. Good luck

  • Brian
    March 31, 2016 - 07:23

    Always talking about desegragation and still keeping the english and french separated

  • J
    March 31, 2016 - 07:14

    I haven't studied this new info enough to make comments;however, to poster So... if you are a teacher, please check your grammar, It's not, "what happens to us teachers?" but "what happens to we teachers?"

    • Sick Parent
      March 31, 2016 - 19:29

      I just thought you should know I am not a teacher and yes my grammar is not wonderful. I am a parent that has two children with learning disabilities. I am involved with planning and supporting our children. I don't think our teachers get to speak up enough or nobody hears what they are saying. I know the value that these positions have to our classroom teachers.

    • Jane Howlett
      April 01, 2016 - 17:28

      ... it actually is "us teachers" not "we teachers" ...

  • Sick Parent
    March 31, 2016 - 07:05

    Teachers are working with up to 29 kids in their classrooms. Of these 29 kids some have learning disabilities, some are very gifted, and teachers have to adapt materials for them. They have the child with undetermined mental illness and children on the autism spectrum. By saying no front line staff are cut, well they are not getting the support that they need to make changes to their materials by having the support of a literacy coach or specialists. Teachers are working to support our children and putting in long hours to do so and they lose the support or only sanity they have when positions like this are cut. Maybe looking at joining schools and saving positions will allow for our students to gain the support they need to succeed like the rest of the country. Maybe then you will start to see literacy assessment rates go up. Teachers are working in combined classrooms and trying their hardest to make sure children are seen and do not fall through the cracks. Not fair and shame on you for making it look like a good thing. What about all of those people that have finished education degrees that are hoping to some day have employment and raise families on PEI. It will be a long time before they have positions when 32 positions have to be absorbed into the system bumping people out.

  • don
    March 31, 2016 - 06:59

    well time to cut jobs and save money as it is time to start donating to your friends in the party. as we all know that is a norm for the liberals.

  • no thanks
    March 31, 2016 - 05:17

    everyone must consider the fact that the education system is about much more than learning and learners .... There are many people in school who won't or don't learn and there are many activities in school which are not about academics The schools have taken on every "ILL" of society including legal ,social,mental health ,family and other such problems-----"yes,i didn't mention baby sitting "----- There will be a pork barrel full of contract positions gifted out to liberal friens to mask the problems in this new "SOLUTION"

  • Follower
    March 30, 2016 - 20:51

    Lighter and leaner should be started in Cabinet with this guy being the first cut. This Minister was Education for years and look what happened. Than the Premier moves him to Health, where a big deplorable scandal occurred and than puts Currie back in Education. We will watch who gets their pink slips shortly. These guys cannot be trusted

  • Cromwell
    March 30, 2016 - 20:31

    Why can't the English-language and French-language school systems be merged into a single unit? Surely there would be massive economies to be gained.

  • Ray
    March 30, 2016 - 20:08

    Minister Currie should learn about "leaner and lighter" as his days at the trough must be numbered!

  • ajakall
    March 30, 2016 - 17:30

    Close some smaller schools while you are at it!!!!!!!

  • Scratching my head...
    March 30, 2016 - 16:12

    Now, let's talk about the current curriculum and the gaps within it. Try figuring out what the kids are supposed to be learning in math... There is no such thing as math drills anymore. The kids have to think in the abstract or they fail. The core French books are completely laughable. And then explain why the kids score so low on the testing. NO surprise to this parent!!! I think we should go back to the tried, tested, and true. Face it, as a parent, I have had to revert to it more than once to get a child to understand. This is ridiculous!!

  • up easterner
    March 30, 2016 - 15:30

    BEST NEWS any hard working,taxed to death Islander could hear on this beautiful spring day!! NOW move over to Health P.E.I. and cut out the excess admin. duplication there,LORD KNOWS YOU SHOULD FIND PLENTY and leave the front line teachers and nurses ALONE!!!

      March 31, 2016 - 09:34

      Curry just came from Health where he totally bolloxed that department. It's the old Peter Principle at work here, eventually everyone rises to their level of incompetence.

  • So...
    March 30, 2016 - 15:13

    So when the teachers have positions to return to what happens to us teachers in their position? Mr Currie you could use a lesson on "the trickle down effect"

  • True or False
    March 30, 2016 - 14:30

    Currie makes this sound pretty rosie, but there has to be more to the story. If it's all positive than why wasn't this done years ago. I would assume the under worked bunch at health pei on Garfield will be next in line for streamlining.

  • don
    March 30, 2016 - 14:26

    Education Minister can we cut his job and give him his pink slip??