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It’s almost back-to-school time, but dozens of N.S. support staff positions remain unfilled

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WATCH: Back to school is just around the corner, and as students and parents prepare for the school year, so too does the province. In May the Minister of Education announced 191 new positions to support inclusive education, but as Alicia Draus reports, more hiring still needs to be done to fulfill that promise – Aug 23, 2018

Back to school is less than two weeks away, but the province is still working to fill dozens of inclusive education support staff.

In May the province announced there would be 191 new positions by September.

As of Thursday, 35 positions remain unfilled:

  • 1 specialist teacher
  • 2 psychologist/speech pathologists
  • 17 educational assistants or child youth care practitioners
  • 4 student health partnership nurses
  • 11 parent navigator positions

Education Minister Zach Churchill says they are already well on their way.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia to hire over 190 professionals to help with classroom inclusion

“We’ve hired over 140 new positions for this coming year,” he said.

“The hiring process, the bulk of it goes until the end of September every year, that’s a normal process.”

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The Nova Scotia Health Authority has job postings for school health partnership nurses online with a closing date of Aug. 27.

The Department of Education said many of the parent navigator positions have also been posted and the remaining ones will be posted this week. Churchill is confident all positions will be filled by the end of September.

But Nova Scotia Teachers Union President Paul Wozney said he is not so confident.

“Many of these specialists are in demand all across the country. If people are mobile, they certainly are in a position where they can go wherever they want,” said Wozney.

WATCH: N.S. education specialists frustrated with hiring delay

Click to play video: 'N.S. education specialists frustrated with hiring delay' N.S. education specialists frustrated with hiring delay
N.S. education specialists frustrated with hiring delay – Jun 26, 2018

He said he is already seeing that happen, noting that last year four of the seven school psycholosist graduates from Mount Saint Vincent University did not stay in Nova Scotia.

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“They left to work in other places,” he said.

Wozney said NSTU supports these new positions being created, but said the quick roll out may have been too ambitious and completing hiring after the school year has begun can be disruptive.

“[The kids] needs don’t change just because you don’t have everybody in place, so you really start the year short-handed and it can create chaos and uncertainty.”

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