REGINA - As school divisions prepare to submit their budgets to the provincial government by June 30th, the impact of the Sask. Party’s cuts to the classroom are becoming more evident. Saskatoon Public School Division has gone public with concerns about what programs and services are on the chopping block as they work to eliminate the division’s projected deficit of $8 million. By law, school divisions must present a balanced budget to the provincial government.
“Premier Scott Moe told people across the province during the last election campaign that there would be no cuts, but now we see the truth: this is a government that has chosen to cut supports to the classroom during a pandemic,” said Carla Beck, Education Critic for the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party.
Beck notes that Saskatoon Public Schools is just one of many divisions having to make difficult decisions as part of budget deliberations. Despite the Sask. Party government’s budget stating school divisions would receive an increase of $19.2 million, that funding increase was consumed entirely by the need to fund the $23 million teacher’s contract. The Ministry of Education’s 2021-22 and 2020-21 Funding Comparative illustrates the real picture, with 9 school divisions having their operating funding cut, and a meagre 1.1% funding increase to divisions overall.
The Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the Sask. Party government to:
- Provide immediate interim operating funding to ensure no school divisions are forced to pass budgets that involve cuts to staff and the supports students rely on; and
- Work with Saskatchewan school divisions to come up with a recovery plan for schools for the 2021-22 school year and beyond that will take into account the learning, social and mental health needs of our students coming out of the pandemic - and fund those needs appropriately.
“Teachers, parents and school communities have done so much to make education rewarding and of the highest quality during the last year,” said Beck. “As students return full-time to the classroom in the Fall of 2021, hopefully with the pandemic behind us, we know that there is so much work needed to get kids back on track and to support them after the challenges they’ve endured.”