After multiple school divisions across the province of Saskatchewan announced cuts to teaching positions and the introduction of lunchroom fees, the NDP are calling on the provincial government to increase funding for schools.
“We’ve had years of cuts, but what makes this harmful is that our system was already chopped down to the bone and now this year’s cuts are hitting us even harder than those in the past,” said opposition education critic and NDP MLA for Saskatoon Eastview, Matt Love.
Over the last two weeks, Saskatoon Public Schools and the Saskatoon Catholic School System each announced 19 full time positions in the classroom would be cut, amongst other cuts taking place across the province.
“Our schools are struggling to make ends meet. And our schools are struggling to meet the needs of our kids,” Love said.
With the inflation rate continuing to rise, Love is concerned about families paying increased fees, such as the new lunchroom fee multiple school divisions have introduced.
“We are in the middle of an affordability crisis,” said Love. “Saskatchewan families are feeling the pinch. They are struggling to afford fuel, they are struggling to put food on the table and now to be hit with another charge as a result of the Sask. party budget.”
On Friday, June 10, Premier Scott Moe addressed the Saskatoon Public Schools’ budget, saying schools should draw from their “ample reserves.”
“The education minister has mentioned that there are ample reserves in many, if not all, of the school divisions across the province,” said Moe.
“Before a school division is going to charge parents additional dollars for noon-hour recess … they most certainly should be looking at using some of the reserves that have been growing in the last few years,” said Moe.
Love, however, says he is concerned those reserves are quickly disappearing and won’t be available when an emergency arises.
“Many are now forced to axe teachers as those reserves have dried up,” he said.
While the Saskatoon Public School system have already released their budget, the Regina Public School budget has yet to be announced.