As the school year draws to a close and school divisions prepare their budget submissions, the Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the government to prevent any unnecessary cuts.
NDP Education Critic Carla Beck says the funding laid out by the province isn’t going to be enough heading into next year.
“Boards have used all but, about $25 million of that now,” said Beck. “Even if they have been able to support some additional staff to help with learning gaps over the next year, that’s not sustainable and this is a response that really is going to require 2-3 years before we can get the supports in place.”
Beck notes that some school divisions are working to eliminate deficits of up to $8 million. By provincial law, school divisions must present balanced budgets to the government.
She says government support is needed more than ever as it’s not clear as to what the fall will look like.
“We don’t know how many children are going to be in schools in the fall, how many will be online, and we really don’t know the full impact of how much has been lost over this last year,” said Beck.
Beck says one of the biggest concerns heading into the fall, is the impact the pandemic has had on students’ learning, adding there may be some noticeable deficits.
“These deficits, if they’re not addressed now, they’re going to have impacts right across that learners school experience,” said Beck. “What we want the government to do is to work with boards, to check-in in the fall, and be willing to provide some of that support. If you don’t address it as quickly as possible, those needs don’t go away, they actually grow.”
Beck says by not providing schools with the proper funding, the Sask. Party government is breaking another promise.