Even before this year’s budget, Saskatchewan’s classrooms, their teachers, students and school boards were already a favourite target of the Sask. Party for cuts and broken promises. With the changes to the Education Act proposed in the budget, the Sask. Party is seizing control of local school board budgets and silencing local voices by further eroding local decision making.
“This change is a demonstration of pure arrogance and shows how completely out of touch the Sask. Party is when it comes to what is needed in our kids’ classrooms across Saskatchewan,” NDP Education Critic Carla Beck said. “The message being sent with this budget is that the Sask. Party doesn’t want to hear from the people who work in our kids’ classrooms and they want to completely undermine any influence that parents and communities have over their children’s education.”
Last year, the Sask. Party refused to make good on a contract they committed to with teachers and, recently, the Minister has talked about gutting local agreements with no regard for the impact that could have on students’ sports and extra-curricular activities. The Sask. Party has also moved to take control of school division reserves. These reserves have been accumulated and saved by the local school divisions and the Sask. Party now want to take them to be used at the government’s discretion.
In addition to the other cuts, the Sask. Party’s new funding formula for school boards cuts tens of millions of dollars from Saskatchewan’s classrooms.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful the way the Sask. Party has underfunded and undervalued our kids’ classrooms,” Beck said. “It’s unacceptable for the government to making students and their families pay the price for Sask. Party’s mismanagement, scandal and waste – especially while they give huge tax giveaways to the large corporations and the wealthy and well-connected.”