COTE ST-LUC – When the province’s education minister, Yves Bolduc, downplayed the importance of library funding to a French-language newspaper, he set off a firestorm of controversy among the province’s educators.
Bolduc backtracked from those comments Tuesday, but educators remained concerned that the province was making cuts that victimized some of the most vulnerable students in the education system: those with special needs.
“These children deserve to be given time. All students deserve to be given time,” said Raizel Candib, principal of Merton Elementary School. “So where are you going to cut?”
The English Montreal School Board is looking at a budget shortfall this year of almost $4 million, and special needs students are top-of-mind for administrators.
“If you start adversely affecting that particular domain, then you’re doing a disservice not only to them but to the whole process of education,” said Syd Wise, an EMSB commissioner.
Faculty who deal with special needs kids say they’re already overtaxed.
“The amount of time I am able to give each individual student is limited to about half an hour a day,” said Kimberley Davey, a resource teacher there. “As if that’s not a problem in itself, the board has cut the literacy facilitator’s job, which means on top of resource I have to take on the literacy position as well.”
The EMSB will table its budget September 3.
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