Education funding shortfall leads to big cuts in growing schools

Cuts in growing school division near Warman, Martensville includes 21 EAs

The Sask. Party has failed to properly fund education, and the newest outcome of its short funding is sweeping cuts being forced at the Prairie Spirit School Division.

More than 21 educational associates (EAs, also called educational assistants) will be cut for the next school year, according to a letter the school division sent to parents Wednesday. There will also be cuts to pre-school programs, early learning, special education resource staff, librarians, vice-principals and programs supporting children learning English.

The division notes that it will have to make further cuts in response to enrolment growth through the year in its fast-growing schools. That would be because the government has refused to budget for a mid-year funding adjustment to accommodate new students. It’ll also combine classes wherever it can, moving to even larger class sizes.

“Saskatchewan has had a decade of resource wealth. We should absolutely be seeing our schools and our students thrive with fantastic programming, smaller class sizes and the capacity to give every child the help and attention they need to be their best,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “But, this government has refused to prioritize education. So, we see cuts to programs and layoffs in critical positions.

“This government refuses to make classrooms a priority, and as a result, a generation of kids throughout the province are suffering.”

Wotherspoon said the funding shortfall is a province-wide problem. He’s heard from a number of school divisions, urban and rural, that are facing tough decisions because of budget shortfalls, and are making cuts for the coming school year.

School boards are definitely not to blame, he added. Prairie Spirit has repeatedly flagged for the Sask. Party the funding problem that is hurting students. Like other boards, it’s made administrative reductions and dipped into its long-term savings to try to spare the kids from cuts – but those options have largely been exhausted.

The NDP has called on the government to prioritize education; fund a cap on class sizes and increase the number of EAs to ensure every student gets the help and one-on-one attention they need.

Read the list of PSSD cuts here.