STF Alarmed as Government Signals No Additional Funds for Education

February 8, 2019
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

We’re drowning. The needs in our classroom are getting greater, the expectations of us get higher and the supports we receive decrease. It is not a sustainable system at the rate we are going.

                                                 

2017 quote from a classroom teacher

 


SASKATOON – After three years of living with the consequences of less money for classrooms, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation today expressed alarm over government talk of a “maintain and sustain budget” for 2019-20.

“We’re at least $16 million below where we were before the March 2017 austerity budget,” STF President Patrick Maze said. “Signalling no increase in operating funding this year is bad for students and bad for teachers.”

According to media reports, Premier Scott Moe said Monday that municipalities would be among the only groups getting more money in 2019.

Following that speech, Finance Minister Donna Harpauer added she was walking a “tight line” with the 2019-20 provincial budget. Harpauer is planning only to “maintain and sustain” funding for education, social services and health care.

“I certainly hope that, at the very least, the Finance Minister’s definition of ‘sustain’ takes into account enrolment increases and the cost of inflation,” Maze said. “The cold, hard reality is it’s going to take more money to educate more children this year.”

In the 2017-18 budget, $54 million was taken out of the classroom. So far, $37 million has been put back, leaving teachers short of the supports and resources they need to do their important work.

Maze points to the long-term implications of these decisions. “I don’t think you can reasonably expect that government will be able to achieve the ambitious goals outlined in the current version of the Education Sector Strategic Plan when you’re cutting back the money needed to meet those goals,” Maze said. “There’s less money for classrooms than three years ago, so they can’t be surprised when targets aren’t met.”