Watch above: Parents of students in the Prairie Spirit school district gathered Thursday night to rally against cuts to teaching positions in the fall. Amber Rockliffe finds out why they feel so strongly.
MARTENSVILLE, Sask. – Parents in the Prairie Spirit School Division have launched a letter-writing campaign calling for the provincial government to address funding issues in their schools. More than 300 parents have signed the letters, which are being distributed to MLA Nancy Heppner, Saskatchewan Minister of Education Don Morgan and Premier Brad Wall.
The letter compares divisions across Saskatchewan, claiming each Prairie Spirit student receives up to $4,000 less per year.
Saraiyah Mistry, eight, relies on the help of educational associates in her classroom. She has type one diabetes, and her family worries that the cuts will put her at risk.
“Because of the extra care that she requires, if the administrative assistants get cut, who’s providing for my daughter?” asked her dad, Ritesh Mistry.
He was among more than one hundred parents in the division who attended a rally in Martensville Thursday evening.
Federal NDP Carleton Trail-Eagle Creek candidate Glenn Wright also attended the rally.
“It’s just wrong for me to see that the funding is so different from one school division to the next, and to hear about kids getting $14,000 per student in Swift Current, versus $10,000 per student here,” he explained.
Several of the parents at the rally said some schools in their division have higher-than-average rates of children with special needs, and resources are stretched thin even without the cuts.
The ministry of education argues the number of students requiring intensive supports in Prairie Spirit is in line with the provincial average, which is just over five per cent.
Assistant Deputy Education Minister Donna Johnson said all divisions, including Prairie Spirit, have received year-over-year funding increases.
“It’s a tight fiscal year; nevertheless, all school divisions are getting almost a three per cent increase,” she explained.
Parents plan to hand-deliver the letters to government offices over the next few days.