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Saskatchewan government set to put forward less than planned amount for teacher raises

Fourteen teachers and 60 educational assistants have received notices, indicating they are losing their jobs, from the Prairie Spirit School Division near Saskatoon.
Education Minister Don Morgan said the province will cover about half of an $18 million raise for teachers. File / Global News

Teachers are getting less government funding for raises this year, according to the provincial government.

Instead of the agreed-upon 1.9 per cent increase promised in the collective bargaining agreement, the province’s education minister, Don Morgan, said they’re paying about half that amount.

“To fund it all the way across the would cost $18 million, and we’re paying nine of that,” Morgan said on Tuesday.

What the government wants the school divisions to do now is look inward and find areas where savings can be made in order to fund the difference.

According to Morgan, som school divisions have already let the ministry know this will be possible.

“Saskatoon Public has indicated they don’t feel they’d be making any more cuts in the classroom. Northeast school division said the same thing in response,” he explained.

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“What we’re saying to the other divisions is work hard, work with the government, try and find savings to ensure that you’re able to commit to having resources in the classroom.

However, the opposition NDP said the government is violating their own agreement and is worried about the ability of some school divisions being able to come up with the money.

“It’s a three-party agreement, and of course, school boards don’t have the ability to raise their own revenue,” Education Critic Carla Beck said.

“So I would consider it a contractual obligation of the provincial government.”

Beck fears that this will result in cuts to support staff in schools, which has been a go-to talking point for the NDP in this sitting of the legislature.

“This government scrapped the mid-year funding adjustment, and since then, Saskatchewan families and educators have seen nothing but cuts and clawbacks,” Beck said.

“Our teachers and our kids deserve better than a minister who turns his back on his signature.”