Saskatchewan school boards say they need additional government funding to prevent cuts in the classroom. Most divisions have now prepared their budgets for the fall and winter term but are also feeling the pressure of dealing with higher fuel and maintenance costs.
Shawn Davidson with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association said school boards predicted they would come up short this year.
“We foreshadowed this back in March when the provincial budget came down and we saw an increase to funding for the Pre-K to 12 education sector that fell far short of our inflationary and cost driving pressures,” he said.
Now, the majority of the 27 school divisions have finalized their budgets. So far, about 100 teaching and classroom support positions are on the line.
“From the day that this disastrous budget was released by Scott Moe and the Sask. party government, everyone with a vested interest in our classrooms has been speaking out about what this budget will mean,” said NDP MLA Matt Love.
Those who spent their careers in the classroom are dismayed.
“They know the complexity in classrooms continues to increase. It’s not getting simpler. Students with special needs and intensive needs are increasing and the amount of supports are dwindling,” said retired teacher Kevin Schmidt.
Higher fuel cost are a major driving factor.
“I can use the example of my own home school division which is Prairie South. We are budgeting for a fuel cost increase, just an increase right around a hundred thousand dollars a month,” Davidson said.
Schools are paying more while the government reaps the benefit of windfall resource revenues. If that situation continues, the province said it decide what additional supports may be available to meet student needs.