For months, Prairie Spirit School Division has been saying they fear jobs cuts may be necessary. On Thursday, those fears became reality when 14 teachers found out they’re losing their jobs through attrition. Sixty educational assistants are also losing their jobs; some through attrition and some through layoffs.
“Believe me this doesn’t feel good at all to say this, but this is exactly what we had said would happen as a result of this budget,” Education Critic Carla Beck said.
In late March, the division circulated a letter to employees warning of potential cuts due to an estimated $3 million budget shortfall.
“As a board, we had to sit down with administration and find three million dollars so we weren’t in a deficit situation,” Larry Pavloff, the Prairie Spirit School Division board chair, said.
“For the government to say that we need to make changes, I could turn that right back on the government and say, maybe as a government you need to make changes.”
Education Minister Don Morgan said the ministry of the economy has deployed their rapid response team to assist the 74 people. The team will work with former employees find resources that could potentially help them find new jobs.
He said the school division should have taken a better look at other places they could have made cuts or found saving before making classroom cuts.
“During the election, they raised the issue they might have to do this. The same day that article ran in the paper, they’re advertising for more admin staff,” Morgan said.
“I don’t want to see supports come out of the classroom.”
Prairie Spirit School Division has 45 schools in 28 communities surrounding Saskatoon. According to their website, they serve over 10,000 students, but that number is going up.
“That division has some challenges coming up next year. There’s new joint-use schools coming on in Warman and Martensville,” Morgan said.
“We hope they can get their planning together because those schools need to get staffed up.”
Beck argued that she continually hears teachers saying they’re stressed and burdened in the current system.
“Not only is that teacher teaching a larger group, they’re often doing it without the support of an EA in the classroom,” Beck said.