“The Saskatchewan Party continues to ignore their responsibilities for public education,” said a press release from STF. “Instead, they are attempting to mislead and divide the public in order to distract from a growing crisis of their own doing — a crisis caused by years of underfunding public schools.”
The new video campaign points to issues like overcrowded classrooms, a lack of access to the professional resources that students rely on, and year-over-year budget cuts.
The STF has expressed frustration with the provincial government on numerous occasions over the last few months, saying that any money provided hasn’t been enough.
The organization has been fighting back with rallies and campaigns.
“Our new ad demonstrates the challenges students face in underfunded classrooms, and how teachers are working hard to support them,” said STF president Samantha Becotte.
“The premier and new education minister are keen to talk about their billion-dollar surplus and growth that supposedly works for everyone. But their idea of growth isn’t working for the schools and children of our province.”
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Becotte pointed to a recent report from the Fraser Institute that found that between 2012-2020, Saskatchewan recorded the second highest increase in student enrolment among provinces, while also seeing the second largest decrease in per-student funding.
“The Fraser Institute’s new report confirms what the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation has been saying. The Saskatchewan government is providing less money for more students,” Becotte said.
“You don’t need to be a math teacher to see that this does not add up. Saskatchewan is not a have-not province. Students and their families deserve a government that is willing to work with their partners to find solutions, not one that will play politics with serious classroom issues.”
The Ministry of Education told Global News that the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee offered teachers seven per cent over three years, calling it a fair deal.
“Saskatchewan teachers continue to earn salaries above the average for teachers in western Canada, all while maintaining very competitive benefits including pension plan contributions, medical and dental plans, and sick leave provisions,” read the statement from the province.
The government noted that monthly bargaining meetings happened throughout the summer, but August’s meeting was deferred at the request of STF.
“Outside of the bargaining process, an additional $40 million was provided to school divisions to support enrolment growth and complexity of today’s classrooms,” read the statement. “With this announcement, operating funding has grown to $2.08 billion for the 2023-24 school year, an increase of $89.4 million or 4.5 per cent, over the 2022-23 school year.”
The province said that bargaining will continue with STF in September.