In response to the Minister of Education’s continued refusal to release a breakdown of the cost of fixing Saskatchewan’s crumbling schools, NDP Education Critic Carla Beck wrote to the Minister today with two demands of the Sask. Party government: to comply with the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s recommendation and release the basic information that had been requested, and to finally grant the Information and Privacy Commissioner the power to compel public bodies to release documents.
“Our schools are crumbling because, for years, the Sask. Party has let the infrastructure deficit balloon. Instead of laying out a clear plan to fix our schools, they’re refusing to provide information on needed repairs in each division, even though the Information and Privacy Commissioner has told them to, because they don’t want the public to know about it,” said Beck. “This arrogant ducking of responsibility is unacceptable. Saskatchewan educators and students deserve better. Parents, teachers, and students have a right to know the condition of our kids’ schools, and Saskatchewan people deserve a government that will make the investments we need now, instead of more Sask. Party cuts and austerity.”
Beck slammed the Education Minister not just for what she called his “heavy-handed attempts to leave the public in the dark,” but for actively misleading the public on the funding made available for school reopening. The Minister’s announcement this week only met half the costs divisions identified, didn’t include funding for substitute teachers, included no plan to reduce class sizes, and didn’t rule out clawing back school division funding in the future.
“Gord Wyant keeps fudging the numbers, re-announcing previously announced funding as if it’s new, and dressing up existing positions as new positions,” said Beck. “He’s responsible for introducing the worst back-to-school plan in Canada, and every time people come looking for answers, he just keeps pointing fingers instead of taking responsibility and fixing the problem.”