Education workers gathered on the steps of the Legislature on May 10 to rally around support for school funding. Along with NDP Education Critic Matt Love, the crowd decried what amounts to cuts in education funding in the Provincial Government’s last budget. In light of rising inflationary costs, schools and divisions are at a loss to maintain current staffing and programming, says Love. He maintains there are other critical issues not being attended to due to lack of funding.
“More students than ever are struggling to meet learning objectives and struggling with their mental health,” said Love. “The last thing the Government should be doing is cutting school division funding. Educators are working tirelessly to provide the best possible experience for their students, while being asked to do more with less.”
A release from the New Democrat Opposition notes that school division operating funding increased 5.1% since 2016, and the Canadian Price Index jumped 14.5% over the same period. Love and the opposition maintain that the government’s touted $29 million increase in spending for education comes nowhere near to being enough to maintain funding levels.
In the Horizon School Division, plans for a new integrated K-12 school in Lanigan are in neutral as the Division and Government try to work on a funding shortfall in the project due to inflation. Other capital projects in the Division await additional funding. Those funding shortfalls are the equivalent of cuts, maintains Love.
“Everyone is rightly frustrated over the Sask. Party’s cuts to education,” Love said. “We all want our children to grow up happy and successful. But these cuts will compromise learning and school services at a time when we need to be investing in our children, especially after the disruptions of the last three years. The future prosperity of our kids and our province depend on education, and if we do not invest in education now we will certainly pay for it in the future.”
The Opposition called on the Government to address the concerns of education workers and make funding reflective of the challenges facing school divisions and students today.