September 4, 2008
2008 School Year Promises Opportunities for Student Achievement and Success
With an education budget of $1.1 billion, the Provincial Government is spending $10,600 per student this year in the K-12 system, an increase of 43.1 per cent since 2003. The Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Education, helped kick off the new school year with visits to C. C. Loughlin and the site of the new high school in Corner Brook today.
"We are fortunate to be in a position to make increasing investments in education," said Minister Burke. "With this money in place, we are putting more teachers in our schools; offering modern and relevant curriculum and learning resources; and, establishing an education system that continues to support student achievement and individual success."
Minister Burke said the Provincial Government is once again investing heavily in infrastructure � one of the cornerstones of the education system. The budget this year for new schools and repair and maintenance is $88.8 million, an increase of $39.5 million over last year. This will help move forward nine new schools that have been announced for the communities of L�Anse au Loup, Port Saunders, Baie Verte, Torbay, Placentia, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and Port Hope Simpson, and two facilities in Paradise. It will also fund regular repair and maintenance projects that keep schools safe and clean. Since April 2008 alone, 36 construction contracts have been awarded, with nine more now at the advertising stage. These projects cover everything from roof repair and electrical upgrades, to window and siding replacement.
Programming is also seeing improvements this year. The new math curriculum, which is part of the Provincial Government�s $11.3 million Excellence in Mathematics Strategy, is being introduced in Kindergarten, and Grades 1, 4 and 7 this September, complete with new textbooks. The Futures in Skilled Trades and Technology program is being expanded to an additional 35 schools at a cost of $750,000, and two more pilot courses will be introduced � Robotics, and Power and Energy. Additional funding has also been allocated this year to support the growth of the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI). An investment of $1.6 million will allow CDLI to expand its teaching workforce, resource schools to accommodate distance education students, provide optimum Internet connectivity, and assist school districts with the delivery of distance education.
School boards are also getting a boost. Districts have approximately $4.2 million more to increase funding for student assistant allocations, increase the hours for school secretaries, and to fully implement Budget 2007 initiatives for technology support and school board repairs and maintenance.
Under the new teacher allocation model, there are an additional 65 teachers in the system for the 2008-09 school year, despite declining student enrolment. The new model is based on two key elements � a focus on programming and teaching needs, and maximum class sizes in the K-9 system. The Williams Government has allocated $3.56 million in Budget 2008 to help school districts with their individual planning for school programming and teaching needs.
"The past two years have been a period of renewal in our K-12 system," Minister Burke said. "We have undertaken significant work to identify and address long-standing issues, from the math curriculum to teacher allocation to the delivery of special needs education. With an investment of $2.4 million, the Department of Education is working with educators and other partners in education across the province to effect change in almost every aspect of special needs services. We are building on existing initiatives such as Healthy Students Healthy Schools, and the Safe and Caring Schools policy. And we are continuing to reduce the age of schools buses. Clearly, this government continues to place high priority on the education of our youth, ensuring our schools are places filled with opportunities to help our students achieve success."
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The table below is a list of construction projects awarded since April 1, 2008
The below table is a list of construction projects where the tender period has closed but the contracts have not yet been awarded. The list indicates the total project estimate based on the pre-tender construction estimate.
The below table is a list of construction projects currently advertised. The list indicates the total project estimate as well as the anticipated closing dates.
2008 09 04 10:20 a.m.
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