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Divisional funding intact despite provincial changes

By: Staff Writer

Posted: 03/17/2017 12:00 PM

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Hanover School Division’s budget will move ahead as planned and Seine River trustees approved their budget without modifications, following an education funding change announced by the province on Tuesday.

Both divisions indicated though the program has changed the funding remains the same.

Education minister Ian Wishart announced that the province would be creating a new early years education initiative to replace the previous smaller class sizes initiative. The new plan aims to give school divisions more flexibility in its approach to early year education, with an emphasis on literacy and numeracy.

The province said data from Grade 3 and Grade 4 provincial assessments demonstrated no significant improvement in student achievement since the inception of the smaller classes initiative.

School divisions like Hanover had yet to implement the program at the grade three level.

Seine River superintendent Mike Borgfjord said small class sizes remain important but agreed that the new program will allow divisions to have more flexibility.

He assured that Seine River has no plans to make significant increases to class sizes but said removing the 20 student cap will allow for more consideration of school needs on a case-by-case basis.

Borgfjord said Seine River had achieved about 58 percent compliance with the small class initiative and that 95 percent of classes had less than 23 students. He noted one trend that has emerged during this small class initiative was a move towards multi-age classrooms as one way of meeting cap needs. Before the small class program, about 15 percent of classes were multi-age, compared with 75 percent today.

Hanover trustees had voted last week to conditionally approve the budget based on the funding remaining intact. No further meeting of the board is now needed in light of the province’s announcement.

Seine River trustees voted in favour of their budget at their meeting on Tuesday night, confirming details discussed at their last meeting.

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