Investments Enhance Early Learning and K-12 Education
Full-day Kindergarten, Early Childhood Learning As part of a second, three-year commitment to the province’s Early Childhood Learning Strategy, Learning from the Start, a total of $35.4 million is allocated for the introduction of full-day Kindergarten, beginning in September 2016, and other early learning programs which benefit children and families. A total of $30.6 million is provided over three years for infrastructure, as well as teaching and learning resources related to full-day Kindergarten, with ongoing costs expected to be over $13 million annually. In addition, Budget 2014 allocates $4.8 million over three years to continue a focus on children from birth to age three, and build on previous investments. This includes the development and province-wide distribution of parent resource kits to all children aged two, four, six, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months; the enhancement of early literacy programs; and, funding for the successful Power of Play public awareness campaign, among other initiatives.
K-12 Infrastructure Budget 2014 allocates $128.1 million for educational infrastructure, continuing a historically unprecedented, systematic investment in new schools, extensions, redevelopments, renovations and repairs and maintenance. Close to $9.7 million has been allocated for:
A further $19.2 million is provided for priority repairs and maintenance projects throughout the province.
About $99.3 million has been allocated for ongoing major projects, including:
The Provincial Government has allocated more than $681 million for school infrastructure since 2004, including almost $236 million for repairs and maintenance. Thirteen new schools have opened; nine more are in various stages of planning or construction; 26 major extensions and renovation projects have been completed; and, 11 more are underway. More than 1,900 repairs and maintenance projects – including roofing, siding, windows, and electrical and plumbing upgrades – have been undertaken since that time.
Budget 2014 also provides $200,000 over two years to implement the Energy Conservation and Outreach Pilot Program for schools, as outlined in the news release: Responsible Investments for Managing Our Natural Resources.
No Changes to Teacher Allocation There will be no reduction in teaching services this year, despite enrolment decline. Budget 2014 allocates $2.4 million, on an annualized basis, to retain 28.5 teaching units, which were slated for removal due to an overall reduction in the student population. Three of those units are specifically earmarked to assist schools in their efforts to implement Safe and Caring Schools initiatives, bringing the total to 7.25 units. The remainder will be deployed by school districts, based on priority needs. Newfoundland and Labrador has the best pupil-teacher ratio of any province in Canada. About $538 million – almost 62 per cent of the entire education budget – is allocated for teachers’ salaries, substitute teachers, student assistants, professional development, and various services for teachers.
Increased Student Assistant Support Recognizing the increased demand for student assistant support, Budget 2014 provides funding for 43,000 additional student assistant hours, at an annualized cost of $1 million. This builds on an increase of 25,000 hours approved in 2010. The Provincial Government now invests over $16 million annually on student assistant supports for children with identified needs.
Support for Public Libraries Budget 2014 provides an additional $200,000 to the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board for priority repairs and maintenance at public libraries. This brings the total allocation for infrastructure needs to $320,000. A commitment has also been made to help acquire new public library space in Conception Bay South, with funding to begin to flow in 2015-16. A total of $330,000 is earmarked for 2015-16 – which represents a $100,000 initial cost for furnishings, and $230,000 as part of a long-term leasing arrangement.
No School Fees, Free Textbooks Recognizing the financial benefit to families as the result of the elimination of school fees and the delivery of free textbooks, Budget 2014 allocates $6.3 million to continue the school fees initiative and $1.2 million to allow for the ongoing distribution of free textbooks to all public school students.
- 30 -Media contact:
|Heather May Director of Communications Department of Education 709-729-0048, 697-5061 firstname.lastname@example.org|
2014 03 27 2:40 p.m.