Sometimes the old “no comment” routine would serve politicians better when they have nothing else to offer.
The Nova Scotia government has apparently seen the light. In the coming year’s budget they will find an increase in funding for schools of $3.3 million – this after two years of deep cuts.
Education Minister Ramona Jennex assures Nova Scotians that there’s no change in stand in the challenge the province faces with declining enrolment. She then adds, “We have heard very clearly from people in Nova Scotia that education is a priority.”
Really? You didn’t suspect that before? It took an outcry clear across the province to clue a government in on that? Well, just to be sure there’s no misunderstanding, education has always been a priority for Nova Scotians, as it tends to be for most jurisdictions in the civilized world.
Not to lose sight of the fact that, yes, indeed, with fewer kids around we have a surplus of school space – it’s still topsy-turvy to see this sudden shift to more money.
The conclusion most people will reach is that a provincial election cannot be far away. While a writ drop for this spring that most expected last year is looking less likely, this fall is a good bet, but heading to the polls could run as late as the following spring.
For school boards, understandably nervous about what each budget could bring, this money is no windfall, but neither is it the cut they’ve grown to fear.
The province can expect to see 170 new teachers hired next year, although 330 are expected to retire.
But how about the librarians and other staff let go over the past two years? – you might want to be careful how you phrase this joyous news to them.
We’ve still got some tough corners to turn on the education front. School boards would be wise to treat this as just a bit of breathing room while they continue to find ways to reduce expenses; because the future – whether this government or another party – will see the paring down continue.