Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Kudo's to Eastern School District for listening to administrators, the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils, teachers and CUPE.

Yesterday, the province's largest school board, announced that it would back down from its original plan to reduce secretarial time per day at 13 schools.

Only two schools, Queen Elizabeth Regional High School in Foxtrap and St. Peter’s Junior High in Mount Pearl,  will lose their second secretaries. Enrollment at the pair of schools has fallen below 600 students resulting in the application of  an allocation of 25 additional hours per week being denied.

Acting CEO Bruce Vey, told CBC news that “While Eastern School District was clearly acting within its right as the employer as per the collective agreement with CUPE 1560, we have decided to maintain the status quo at these 11 schools,”

Frankly, I never understand these types of corporate decisions. Why bother with the negative public relations exercise. Surely the powers that be at Eastern knew that these cuts would result in an uproar. I suppose, had there not been a major stink, all 13 schools would have had reduced secretarial support. They have not emerged empty handed, out of stubbornness two schools will be cut!   If the decision was to maintain the status quo, why not treat Queen Elizabeth Regional High School and St. Peter’s Junior High the same. These are busy schools, with heavy needs.

The formula should be based on the workload. These are schools where students and teachers are very engaged in programs. The vital of administrative staff is often misunderstood, if not unappreciated by the school boards. These staff often volunteer more hours than they work assisting to keep fundraising, school and school councils straight, helping with breakfast programs and playing diplomat with parents and sick children.

The board might argue that those responsibilities are not in the collective agreement but they as tangible as any clause found in the job description.

Teacher allocation formulas should be viewed the same way., from a program perspective, not the current numbers game. It reminds me of the formula criteria for school gyms and tech rooms. What planner in the right mind would determine the size of a gym based on the number of students. There should be a regulation size gym, that reflects program needs and educational outputs. 

The good news is that you can fight counter intuitive decisions at city hall, school boards and the province.

Think locally, act vocally!

It appears to be the only kind of consultation that makes an impact these days!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They made the savings by laying off two people instead of cutting an hour from everyone. Not really much of a victory...