Friday, 19 January 2018 06:03

Sask. Teachers' Federation warns another austerity budget coming

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On the heels of a year where $54 million fewer dollars were available to support students in Saskatchewan classrooms, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) has learned that school boards are being called on by the government to prepare for another round of cuts in the upcoming provincial budget. 

“We’ve just come through a year where we’ve seen a growing number of students, 188 fewer teachers, cuts to programs and layoffs of teaching assistants. Now the provincial government is planning more cuts in education,” STF President Patrick Maze said. “This is going to have devastating consequences in the classroom.” 
The STF has learned school boards have been warned to plan for cuts in education funding in addition to those introduced in last year’s budget. In some school divisions, that process is already underway. 
The STF has received copies of a memorandum sent out by the Chinook School Division asking teachers, coordinators and administrators to participate in meetings today to “look at programming differently with fewer available resources.” 
The memorandum goes on to say that the Chinook School Division is currently employing 55 more full-time equivalents (FTEs) than the division is funded for. Teachers are being asked to participate in a review that will “discuss school staffing levels and program options.”
“If I were parent of a child in Chinook School Division, I’d be outraged,” Maze said.
“Based on what I’m hearing from teachers all over the province, there’s no way you can introduce further cuts without seriously harming the quality of education provided to our children,” Maze said. 
These additional cuts come against the backdrop of the aggressive goals for improvement set out by the current government in its Saskatchewan Plan For Growth, released in 2012.
That plan described educating, training and developing a skilled workforce as one of the six core growth activities of government.  
“Here we have a government loudly proclaiming their dedication to important educational goals, then cutting the resources needed to achieve them through back-to-back austerity budgets in education,” Maze said. “It’s the height of hypocrisy.” 

Read 520 times Last modified on Thursday, 18 January 2018 06:05

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