The Minister of Education announced a one-time $20 million funding increase to school divisions to help cover the rising cost of inflation.
“We appreciate the government walking back their insistence that schools don’t experience inflation. This one-time funding increase will help cover some of the inflationary increases, but what is really needed is a permanent funding increase,” said Rob Westfield, chair of CUPE Saskatchewan’s Education Workers’ Steering Committee. “These temporary funds won’t hire back the permanent staff that were laid off. It is just a drop in the bucket of this government’s continued underfunding of education.”
School divisions across the province have already announced cuts, layoffs, and introduced new parent fees. Many school divisions have been vocal in their call for a permanent funding increase.
“School divisions need predictable and sustainable funding to provide quality education for all students. As it stands, school divisions will face similar shortfalls next year,” added Westfield.
The funding announcement comes on the heels of a tough week for the Sask. Party government, who have come under fire for their questionable use of private planes to travel across the province.
“It is clear that education is just an afterthought to this government. They could have announced this extra funding in June before school divisions submitted their budgets, but they waited until they needed to distract Saskatchewan residents from their own fiscal mismanagement,” said Judy Henley, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “This one-time funding is a symbolic gesture but won’t help education support workers who are in desperate need of a wage increase, or the kids who need enhanced supports and are slipping through the cracks.”
CUPE represents 7,000 education support workers in the following classifications: education assistants, library assistants and technicians, custodians, tradespeople, school secretaries, bus drivers, social workers, and computer technicians, along with many others.