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Connie Keating is the president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association and co-president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Federation. Image: Twitter/New Brunswick Teachers' Association

Teachers’ association awaits more details after budget

By Brad Perry Mar 23, 2023 | 6:05 AM

The New Brunswick Teachers’ Association (NBTA) says it still has questions after this week’s provincial budget.

More than $1.7 billion has been allocated to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, according to department estimates.

NBTA president Connie Keating said many of the issues they have been talking about have been addressed in the budget.

“However, certainly it’s the details that we need to find out to see how these funds will actually look in practice,” Keating said in an interview Wednesday.

The budget includes $8.7 million to address learning gaps, $18.9 million to refine and improve inclusive education, and $4.4 million to support the language acquisition of newcomer students.

It also includes an additional $33.3 million to hire for more classroom teachers and instructional materials to mitigate the impact of population growth on schools.

Student enrolment increased by more than 4,200 this year, and an additional 2,200 are anticipated for the arrival of the 2023-24 school year.

But Keating questions the ability to add more qualified teachers without a clear recruitment and retention strategy.

“That would be something that we would feel that perhaps this budget missed is the fact that recruitment and retention of teachers was not specifically addressed,” she said.

According to the association, $1.2 million that should have gone toward teachers’ salaries remains in the government’s budget surplus this year due to the inability to replace teachers.

Keating said they are also unsure whether the investment is enough to keep pace with increased inflation while beginning to address the new challenges of our post-pandemic classrooms.

The association president plans to meet with the province’s education minister over the coming days to discuss the budget in more detail.


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