Scott Moe took to his personal Facebook page to make a public appeal and reveal a snippet of the upcoming provincial budget in the hopes of gaining popular support for the Provincial Governments position. Moe reiterated the government’s commitment to provide substantial funding for education in the budget to the tune of $180 million, but not as a negotiable item at the bargaining table. Samantha Becotte, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, and the teacher of the province are not buying it.  

“The teachers’ union has questioned this commitment and has used this as their reason for not returning to the bargaining table and to continue with job action,” said Moe in his posted statement. “Today, I’m taking the unusual step of announcing part of the education budget prior to budget day.” 

It’s Moe’s contention that the partial unveiling will suffice as a sign of commitment enough to placate teachers and usher them back to the bargaining table. He says it represents the largest increase in funding to education in Saskatchewan’s history.  

A release by the STF says Moe’s maneuver is more “ad-hoc funding to avoid being held accountable.” The bottom-line statement from this STF: “We will not return to the bargaining table until government and Saskatchewan School Boards Association are willing to include a firm, irrevocable commitment in the collective agreement.” 

“Saskatchewan teachers have made it clear that predictable, sustainable funding to address classroom size and complexity is their priority,” said STF President Samantha Becotte in a subsequent release. “Wednesday’s surprise announcement by Premier Scott Moe continues this government’s patchwork approach to funding education. Any funding must be accompanied by a long-term commitment and assurances that these funds will be directed to supports for classrooms. This is an attempt to sideline bargaining and avoid that commitment to students. 

 “This government has a long history of making and breaking promises when it comes to funding education. This time, the Premier and Education Minister must be accountable for commitments made to students and families. That’s why teachers insist that any measures to address class size and complexity be included in a provincewide collective agreement – this is the only way to ensure government will live up to its word.” 

The release also shares a concern about documents showing the Ministry of Education and provincial leadership of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association are engaging in secret talks outside of the collective bargaining process to formulate a memorandum of understanding around class complexity. 

Becotte is expected to speak during Question Period in the Legislature on Thursday.