March 27, 2016 12:47 am
Updated: March 28, 2016 9:38 am

NDP and Sask Party debate education cuts

WATCH ABOVE: While class is out for students across Saskatchewan for the Easter long weekend, class was in for both Cam Broten and Brad Wall. Jackie Wilson with the details on each party’s education plans.

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SASKATOON – While class is out for students across Saskatchewan for the Easter long weekend, class was in for both Cam Broten and Brad Wall.

Broten, the NDP’s leader, spent Saturday morning decorating Easter eggs at the Taylor Street campaign office. After the fun was over he restated his platform promise to stop education cuts.

“We look at their budget from March to third quarter, we see a cut to education of $51.3 million. That’s significant. That’s wrong,” he said.

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Broten blames Saskatchewan Party budget cuts for the potential layoffs of as many as 75 teachers and education assistants in the Prairie Spirit School Division.

“When we have a school division coming forward now saying they’ll be laying off 75 teachers and education assistants because of cuts, that’s also wrong,” said Broten.

FULL COVERAGE: Decision Saskatchewan 2016

Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall was also in Saskatoon at the Willowgrove campaign office and responded to those comments.

“We wanted to save in administration costs related to education and not affect the classroom. So the operating money that goes to the classroom have not been cut,” says the Sask Party leader.

“In the case of this school division they have issued, what I think are very premature notices, layoff notices,” says Wall, “I haven’t heard this school division say they’re going to cut back on their own administrative costs. That’s probably an important question to ask.”

According to Wall, the Prairie Spirit School Division has received increases in operation and preventative maintenance funding.

“There operating funding is up thirty per cent. Their enrollment is up twenty per cent. They’ve received huge capital dollar investments from government to build new schools, including a brand new joint use school,” says Wall, “They’ve also received a $1.4 million increase in maintenance capital. This is a twenty per cent increase from the year before.”

The New Democrats have laid out a plan for education if they’re elected.

The NDP:

  • Hire 300 more teachers
  • Hire 300 more educational assistants
  • Restore the mid-year adjustment to properly fund enrollment after the start of the school year
  • Improve funding for school divisions
  • Work with school boards to set caps on class sizes, starting with Kindergarten to Grade 2
  • Double funding for Early Childhood Intervention Programs
  • Increase funding for Early Childhood Development Programs by 50 per cent
  • By Year 4, when fully implemented, these commitments are an additional $56.5 million in
    spending

The Saskatchewan Party are promising to build on their education investments.

The Saskatchewan Party:

  • 40 new or replaced schools and 25 major renovations undertaken
    • Nearly $966 million invested in capital funding since 2008
    • 18 new joint-use schools are under construction in Saskatchewan’s fastest growing communities
  • 31 per cent increase in operational funding in the province
  • 104 per cent increase in pre-kindergarten programs, more than doubling programs from 155 to 316
  • Education Property Tax on agricultural land reduced by 80 per cent
  • Increased teachers and support workers in education:
    • Over 600 more regular teachers
    • 200 more student support teachers
    • 45 per cent increase in psychologists
    • 24 per cent increase in speech language pathologists
    • 14 per cent increase in social workers
    • 53 per cent increase in occupational therapists
    • 8 per cent increase in English as Additional Language teachers

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