STF Calls Provincial Budget a Reasonable Approach
The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is encouraged by the 2021-22 provincial budget and says it signals public education is a priority. Education was allotted $2.66 billion, a 2.3 percent increase from 2020-21. The Federation says this is a reasonable budget.
“There are always resource challenges in schools and we always hope for funding increases beyond inflation and enrolment increases. However, these are difficult times for citizens and for government. A budget always requires tough choices to be made and the pandemic has increased financial pressure on the provincial government,” said STF President Patrick Maze. “This budget essentially holds the line for education. Given the circumstances, this is a realistic approach.”
Maze cautions there will still be resource challenges in schools. “The challenges we had pre-pandemic haven’t gone away and now there are new ones. Students have all had very different experiences over the last year that will need to be addressed,” said Maze. “School divisions will still have to make difficult decisions.”
Pressures on resources are expected to include unique learning styles, learning gaps and mental health. This is consistent with the results of a survey of Saskatchewan residents the Federation commissioned in February. The survey of Saskatchewan residents found that:
- 69.4 percent of respondents are concerned about students’ mental health.
- Almost 61 percent respondents indicated individual attention will be important.
- 53 percent of respondents agreed that students will need greater access to non-teacher professionals in schools such as educational psychologists, counsellors and educational assistants.
The Federation is committed to continuing to work with all sector partners and points to the pre-budget briefing provided by Honourable Dustin Duncan, Minister of Education, to Maze this morning as an indication of ongoing collaboration within the sector to meet student needs.