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Rally Monday opposing cuts to teaching positions at P.E.I. schools

FILE PHOTO: Members from Georgetown Elementary School’s home and school association, as well as other people in the community, attended an Islandwide rally at Kinkora Regional High School on Thursday.
FILE PHOTO: Members from Georgetown Elementary School’s home and school association, as well as other people in the community, attended an Islandwide rally at Kinkora Regional High School on Thursday.

STRATFORD, P.E.I. – Schools may not be closing, but education officials will be facing another protest with a rally planned for Monday in Stratford.

Janet Payne, one of the rally’s organizers, said the issue this time is that principals have been told several schools across the Island have been identified as being overstaffed.

“The big issue is that it’s one thing for Wade (MacLauchlan) to have announced that this is not the time to close schools, but the actions that are being taken right now achieve the very same goal,” she said.

For several months, the government faced pressure across the province as a school review was underway.

Several rallies were held around P.E.I. voicing opposition to the review process, possible school closures and the eventual recommendations to shut down five schools.

In April, MacLauchlan rejected the recommendation from three Public Schools Branch trustees to close St. Jean Elementary and Georgetown Elementary.

Those trustees had rejected the recommendation to close three other schools.

With possible school closures no longer on the horizon, some concerned parents have turned their attention to staffing numbers.

The Public Schools Branch has given principals the preliminary staffing numbers for the coming school year but won’t release them to the public, saying they are not final.

Payne said it’s not just about the number of teachers employed for the fall.

“This is about letting the public know what this means for the programs that are going to be cut,” she said.

Some schools won’t be able to offer some programs in the next school year with cuts to teaching positions, Payne said.

“So, there’s real, tangible, negative results coming from theses cuts, and we need parents and we need the community to know what these numbers really mean.”

The rally is planned for Monday at 2 p.m. outside the Public Schools Branch office in Stratford.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

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