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Prairie Spirit School Division parents rally for education funding

Watch above: Dozens of Prairie Spirit School Division parents and community members rally Thursday evening to call for more money for their children’s education. Amber Rockliffe reports from Valley Manor School.

MARTENSVILLE, Sask. – Dozens of parents and community members showed up outside Valley Manor School Thursday evening to call for more money for their children’s education. Children lined up on the school’s front lawn, holding signs saying, “Students First” and “Why are we worth less than other kids?”

The Prairie Spirit School Division said it’s being forced to axe dozens of positions, including vice principals, teacher librarians, division office employees, and educational associates.

“There is going to be a lot less support in the schools,” rally organizer Amy Dopko explained.

“Teachers in our school division are already being stretched thin, and they’re just going to be stretched even thinner.”

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Shannon Folliet said her 10-year-old daughter will struggle if the cuts continue.

“I have a daughter with special needs, and she doesn’t have the funding and she doesn’t have a full-time EA, so I’m here to fight for her, and for all the other kids that need it.”

READ MORE: Prairie Spirit School Division reconsiders band program cut

The province said its funding model is currently under review. Struggling with a $7 million shortfall, division officials said their provincial funding per student has dropped by about six per cent over the past three years.

The province said the division’s calculations are incorrect, however, and that in fact operating funding has increased by 30 per cent since 2007.

Parents at the rally said they’re holding the province accountable for their children’s quality of education.