Saskatchewan NDP Education Critic Carla Beck welcomed a federal announcement bailing out the Sask. Party for their refusal to commit adequate funding to a safe school reopening, and called on the Sask. Party government to rapidly allocate that funding to making class sizes smaller in order to ensure a safe return to schools and minimize the risk of outbreaks.
“Despite having months to get the return-to-school plan right, Scott Moe and Gord Wyant kept insisting that no additional funding would be necessary to make schools safer for our kids during a pandemic – to the extent that they waited until far too late to even allocate funding from their own contingency fund. Despite the concerns raised by families, educators, and medical professionals, they did nothing to address class size as crucial weeks passed,” said Beck.
“Today, Education Minister Gord Wyant has finally acknowledged that COVID-19 means additional costs for schools. He has been handed a lifeline for his failed back to school plan, but the clock is ticking – he must not let Saskatchewan families down again.”
Saskatchewan will receive $74.9 million – almost double the $40 million that the Premier allocated from the $200 million contingency fund only after extensive public outrage forced his hand.
“The Premier and Education Minister’s slow-mo, status-quo approach has left parents feeling betrayed, stressed and frustrated. Our classrooms are too crowded now because they were too crowded before,” said Beck. “School divisions still aren’t sure what, if any, additional funding they will receive, or if the government will in fact claw back funding at the end of September if enrolment declines due to COVID-19. We can’t be satisfied with the status quo. We must demand better, and that means a real plan to put this additional federal funding to work where it counts.”