STF Calls for Sustainable Funding to Meet Projected Enrolment Increases in Education
Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Patrick Maze said the end of June is a time to celebrate accomplishments, plan for the future and honour those who are concluding a lifelong career in teaching. However, Maze said it should also be a time for talking about the new dollars needed to cope with increasing enrolment.
“We have forecasts from the government suggesting just over 2,700 new students will arrive in classrooms across our province come September, yet only the vaguest of promises from the Minister of Education to look at more funding later this fall,” Maze said. “This puts more pressure on teachers and makes it very hard for school divisions to plan for the coming year.”
Maze pointed to other governments where economies are also growing where decisions are being made to invest significantly in public services. Next door in Alberta, the current provincial budget allocated $297 million to reducing class sizes. Over in the United Kingdom, a Conservative government, fresh-off of a period of extended austerity, has announced record new investments in heath care.
“Operational funding for education in Saskatchewan this year is 1.3 percent lower than 2016-17 levels, while enrolment has increased 2.32 percent over the same period,” Maze said. “In Regina, the public school board would need 110 additional teachers to maintain class sizes at 2014 levels, yet they have only been able to add 12.”
“Even school divisions such as Saskatoon Public where they are hiring more teachers for the next school year, they’re also making significant cuts to support staff and they will still have a deficit of over $15 million,” Maze said. “And I read today where Saskatoon’s Catholic school division says increasing enrolment and reduced funding means they are being asked to do more without adequate resources.”
“The Director of Education at Saskatoon Catholic says there are ‘tensions in our service [because] there is consistently more that could be done than resources to accomplish it,’” Maze said.
“Education in Saskatchewan is currently being funded in a way that is not sustainable and this has to be fixed.”