REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Education Critic Matt Love was joined by students assembled on the steps of the Legislature to demand the government increase funding to account for, or at least match, the rising inflationary expenses of school divisions.
“Schools are facing huge increases to operational costs. Unless the Sask. Party steps up and invests in our schools the wellbeing and development of our children will continue to be compromised,” Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili said. “The pandemic was hard enough on our kids. Now is not the time to drain school divisions of their resources and pressure them to cut vital services.”
Yesterday, Saskatoon Public School Division and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools sent letters to parents warning that provincial funding falls well short of what divisions need to maintain status quo. Today, their concerns were echoed by students who visited the Legislature demanding the government provide a 3% increase in school division funding. The 2022 budget included a 1.5% increase that was largely consumed by negotiated contract increases and lags behind costs associated with inflation and rising enrollment.
“Parents and teachers are unequivocal: the 2022 budget falls dangerously short of what schools need,” Love said. “Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools only has $660,000 to work with after funding the teachers contract and they say dramatic inflationary increases on utilities, fuel and insurance will eat up $811,000. These concerns are being echoed by the boards that we’ve been speaking to. Education is an investment in our children and our province that we cannot afford to undermine.”
The Official Opposition calls on the government to acknowledge and commit to addressing the very real expenses incurred by school divisions on account of inflationary pressures.