While the public has received or anxiously awaits its provincial government surplus inflation adjustment bonus, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is calling for additional funds to be channeled into education. The mid-year financial report tabled by the Sask Party government reported a $1.1 billion surplus and strong projections for future earnings. 

“I am hearing from teachers whose students do not have adequate access to the professional services they need,” says STF President Samantha Becotte. “So many students need the ongoing support of a speech and language pathologist, the one-on-one support of an educational assistant, an occupational therapist, a counsellor, or a psychologist, and yet they either have no access or they are waiting far too long.” 

In a release, the STF reports hearing of how students’ needs are not being met. They include instances of parents paying out of pocket for services their children used to receive through school, such as mental health support and speech language pathology, but are no longer available due to cuts. It is also concerned about large class sizes, diverse student needs and no additional support.

“These are services students desperately need. Years of underfunding has resulted in school divisions having to make cuts,” said Becotte “Our kids are the ones making sacrifices and paying the price. It’s time the provincial government support students and families by funding the resources and supports students have a right to. “Parents across Saskatchewan have experienced the frustration of the growing crisis of underfunding, and the impact on their child’s learning,” Becotte says. “As critical services are being rolled back or cut, teachers have been doing more with less to try to give students the support they need.” 

The Federation pointed out in its release that operational funding increases have been well below the rate of inflation for several years. It cites the Fraser Institutes data, which shows over the period of 2012-13 to 2019-20, Saskatchewan has dropped from the highest per-student spender in the country to the sixth highest. Over that same period, Saskatchewan’s student enrolment has increased among the highest in the country at 9.6 percent.