Scott Moe promises ‘largest increase in school operating funding’ in Sask. history

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe speaks during a press conference in Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Heywood Yu. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Heywood Yu

As fights between the provincial government and the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) continue to escalate, the province is making its next move.

On Wednesday, Premier Scott Moe announced on Twitter part of the provincial budget two weeks ahead of schedule, focusing on education.

“Today, I am taking the unusual step of announcing part of the education budget prior to budget day, to clearly demonstrate our commitment to address teachers’ concerns around classroom supports,” Moe said.

“The teachers union has questioned this commitment and has used this as their reason to not return to the bargaining table and continue with job action.”

Moe said the 2024-25 budget will include the largest increase in school operating funding ever in Saskatchewan’s history.

Moe said there would be $180 million in increased funding, up nearly nine per cent to $2.2 billion.

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“This increase will include over $356 million specifically allocated to classroom supports,” Moe went on to say. It marks an increase of roughly $45 million from the previous year.

“In light of these significant new commitments, I am asking the STF to pause their job action so that teachers and students can return to their classrooms, and the teachers’ union can return to the bargaining table,” Moe said.

Frustration from the STF has also come from the province not putting classroom supports into the contract. They say without a commitment in the contract, it will be easy for the province to back out of things whenever they want.

“Saskatchewan residents have sent over 110,000 emails to government and school board trustees since the beginning of January,” STF president Samantha Becotte said in a recent interview. “In the face of this overwhelming support for the actions that teachers are taking for their students and publicly funded schools, it is deeply troubling that government remains so intransigent in their position.

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“Students, teachers and families in Saskatchewan deserve much better. When government is ready to listen and quit ignoring Saskatchewan parents, we are ready to work with them to find solutions that support the students in both today’s classrooms and the classrooms of the future.”

Saskatchewan teachers want topics like classroom size and complexity to be part of contract negotiations, but the provincial government refuses, saying that is the responsibility of school divisions.

STF has announced multiple avenues of job action taking place at different school divisions across the province including cutting extra curriculars, removing lunchroom supervision and rotating strikes.

“Students, families and teachers are in this situation because this government simply will not listen,” Becotte said as Regina teachers protested in front of the legislative building Monday.

“For years, they have not listened to parents, teachers, trustees and other experts in the education sector who have been raising alarm bells about underfunding. Today, we bring those concerns to their doorstep. Enough is enough.”

More to come…


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