02/14/2013 12:32 EST | Updated 04/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia announces funding hike for school boards despite dropping enrolment

HALIFAX - Funding for schools in Nova Scotia will go up in the next fiscal year despite dropping student enrolment, Education Minister Ramona Jennex announced Thursday.

School boards will get $1.047 billion in 2013-2014, $3.3 million more than they received this year, Jennex said.

The funding hike comes despite student enrolment that continues to decline, a factor Jennex has cited in the past to justify education cuts.

"There's no change in any stand," Jennex told a news conference. "We have heard very clearly from people in Nova Scotia that education is a priority."

The government plans to hire 170 teachers next year, though it expects 330 will retire.

Overall, three of the province's eight school boards will receive more money while the others will see less because of "extreme declining enrolment," Jennex said.

"It's not a pleasant thing to have to say that we're losing students across the province, but that is the reality," she said.

The Education Department estimates there will be 2,300 fewer children in schools next year.

In the last two years, school boards had their overall funding cut by $31 million.