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NS Teachers Union still concerned about overcrowding and substitute shortages heading into school year

By Evan Taylor Sep 6, 2023 | 1:20 PM

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union is excited for a new school year as students return to classrooms.

However, NSTU President Ryan Lutes says there are still a few areas of concern they’ll be monitoring over the year, as with a growing population comes challenges.

The primary issue is overcrowding, with classrooms having larger and larger classes due to a lack of classroom space and in some cases a shortage of teachers.

“We’ve been seeing it in the past few years, enrollment is up and that is creating a strain in various parts of the system, as we work to catch up on what we need,” Lutes said.

The province did announce the construction of five new schools, along with a handful of replacement builds and some temporary classrooms at the end of last school year, however, those will take some time to be up and running.

Substitute shortages were also an issue throughout last school year, and Lutes doesn’t feel much was done to address this over the summer.

“Last year, particularly during cold and flu season there were instances where subs couldn’t be found, which resulted in some non-accredited personnel taking over classes.”

Lutes says parents should feel comfortable knowing that when they send their children to school they will be taught by a professional and hopes the substitute pool can be expanded.

Lutes says despite those challenges the start of the school year is always an exciting time for teachers, parents and students alike.

“Our teachers are passionate about what they do and we want them to be empowered and have the tools to give students the best learning experience possible.”

The teachers contract expired last July, and Lutes is hopeful that negotiations can be complete this year.


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