SASKATOON - NDP Leader Ryan Meili and Education Critic Carla Beck blasted the Sask. Party’s cuts to our kids’ classrooms that have now hit the largest school division in the province. Saskatoon Public schools face an $8 million shortfall, forcing staggering reductions to the services our kids need coming out of a pandemic.
“The Premier campaigned on two main promises: balancing the budget and not cutting services,” said Meili. “He lied about both. How can the Premier justify borrowing money and not giving a dime to schools? Kids will return this fall after already sacrificing a year and a half of quality classroom time to COVID-19. How is this acceptable?”
In their media release, Saskatoon Public Schools squarely places the blame on the Sask. Party government for the major reductions in Budget 2021/22:
“This shortfall is the result of chronic underfunding from the provincial government (. . . ) if we look at per-student funding adjusted for inflation, we’re receiving $344 less per student today than we received in 2016-17.”
In addition to a 10% across-the-board cut to school budgets, the division is facing a reduction of nearly 67 full-time equivalent positions (FTE), including:
- 13.5 FTE elementary teachers,
- 7 FTE secondary teachers,
- 7 FTE English as an Additional Language teachers,
- 18.4 FTE school support positions, including library technicians and educational assistants.
“The Sask. Party’s cuts keep coming at the worst possible time,” said Beck. “This devastating news comes on the heels of Regina Catholic School Board cutting bussing for 1,000 students; Saskatchewan Rivers Schools Division eliminating 25 teaching positions and Prairie Valley announcing they would be eliminating 36 jobs - all because of this government’s underfunding. Only the Sask Party would be shameless enough to pretend cutting dozens of jobs from the classroom won't hurt our kids."