Nova Scotia’s council to improve classroom conditions is spending $1.9 million to hire more than a dozen truant officers, although they won't be called that.
Fourteen attendance support workers will be introduced with hopes of cutting down on the alarming rate of absenteeism among students in the province.
The provincial government says more than 29,000 out of 118,000 miss more than 16 days of school a year.
“They will go where the students are,” says council member Jennifer Bruce. "They do have a budget for transportation to move around to find the students where they are, and they will have the responsibility to find those students where they are."
The council was formed early this year following a protracted labour dispute that saw the province impose a contract on more than 9,000 unionized teachers. Members include teachers, a student, a parent and a guidance counsellor.
The council has now spent nearly all of the $10 million they were granted for the year to help improve classroom conditions.
Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative education critic Tim Halman says the attendance support workers will be a step in the right direction, but he’ll still be watching the rollout closely.
“It will help. There's no doubt about that,” Halman says. "Attendance is a very complex issue. Oftentimes, when students aren't showing up for class, there’s a multitude of reasons.”
The council says work on hiring the attendance support workers will begin right away, and they should be on the job in the new year.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.