MOOSE JAW - Today, Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck stood with concerned parents and grandparents outside St. Agnes School in Moose Jaw. Together, they spoke up for the many kids with autism who are not reaching their full potential because of funding cuts.
“I first ran for public office because I wanted my kids to have a bright future here at home,” said Beck. “It’s sad to see parents, teachers, and school boards being ignored by this government. There’s no greater investment than investing in our kids.”
One parent, Ashley Harrower, spoke about her 5-year-old son. She described him as a brilliant problem-solver who loves space, our solar system and Pac-Man. He has also been diagnosed with autism and has a hard time with emotional regulation when anxious or over-stimulated at school.
Ashley is worried that her son is not getting the education he needs to be successful in life because of funding cuts. Her son shares an educational assistant with many other students. When he needs one-on-one attention, he often has to be sent home because there are simply not enough staff, resources or space to accommodate his needs.
Ashley describes her son’s school as “bursting at the seams”. The music and art rooms have become overflow classrooms, and the school is ineligible for the province’s new semi-segregated pilot program due to the lack of space.
“Teachers, principals and support staff work so hard with what they have. But it’s like they are grasping at straws. Everyone is burning out because our school divisions just can’t afford to hire and retain staff,” said Harrower. “Every kid deserves a chance to thrive, but I worry about my son’s future.”
The Sask. Party government has cut per-student funding for the better part of a decade, going from the highest levels of funding in Canada to one of the worst.