REGINA – Today, Carla Beck, Official Opposition Education Critic, denounced the very real consequences students and families are facing due to the Sask. Party government’s cuts to education. School boards across Saskatchewan are continuing to take drastic steps and make cuts to staff and services in the lead up to budgets being submitted to the Minister on June 30th.
“I continue to hear from school boards, teachers and parents every day, concerned about what these cuts mean for kids going back to school in the fall,” said Beck. “The Sask. Party promised that no cuts to education would be made during the last election, then immediately turned around and passed a budget that starved school divisions into making these difficult choices.”
School boards across the province are facing budgetary shortfalls and are having to make challenging cuts in order to balance their budgets. Just this week, Regina Catholic School Board announced they would be modifying their bus routes, affecting 1,000 students, Saskatchewan Rivers Schools Division announced that they would be eliminating 25 teaching positions and Prairie Valley announced they were forced to cut 36 jobs to balance their books. These cuts will result in fewer supports and larger class sizes, which will be particularly devastating to students who are already falling behind and lacking support. This week, the Provincial Auditor reported 1 in 5 Saskatchewan kids are not ready for Grade 1 and that valuable supports for children with intensive needs are already lacking.
“At a time when we know our kids need more support to reverse pandemic learning loss, this government is cutting per-student funding and supports. School boards are doing their best to try to keep these cuts out of the classroom, but entering another year of million-dollar shortfalls, that becomes impossible,” said Beck. “After years of cuts, divisions have nowhere else to look. It’s shocking that after what Saskatchewan kids have been through over the last year, Premier Moe and this government are choosing to take dollars out of the classroom and cut investments in our children’s future. It is unconscionable and it’s wrong.”
The Official Opposition is calling on the province to work with school boards to assess and provide additional funding to meet the current needs coming out of this pandemic and to create a COVID recovery plan for students and schools over the next 3 years to ensure services and supports are available to Saskatchewan students at this crucial time.