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Saskatchewan.Board of Education says funding needs to be overhauled despite a $ 20 million boost

The state announced Thursday that $ 20 million would help schools cope with rising fuel and insurance premiums.

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While thanks to the $ 20 million injection to help schools tackle inflationary pressure, some departments in the state say the dollar isn’t advanced enough to deal with long-standing funding problems. increase.

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Education Minister Dustin Duncan announced Thursday that the new funding is aimed at addressing rising fuel and insurance premiums, but some school board representatives instead provide one-time funding each year. He said he should invest.

“The first thing I say is to thank the Minister. It helps a lot against these inflationary pressures,” said Janet Kotilak, a member of the Prairie Valley School District Board of Directors. “But it doesn’t address the long-term funding issues we have repeatedly sought.”

The announcement comes after the state school board has been forced to reduce staff or add fees due to rising costs and inadequate funding.

For example, Saskatoon Public School planned to reduce staff and add a $ 100 lunchtime fee per child after facing a $ 4.5 million shortage.

Similarly, the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School has reduced staff and added lunchtime fees. In Regina, the Catholic and public school system has reduced staff status. The Catholic Commission has also introduced lunch fees. Regina Public School implemented the fee in 2015.

During this year’s budget deliberation, some presidents blamed the state’s lack of education funding.

They are happy with the new money, but some representatives said these challenges would continue.

“There is no guarantee that this $ 20 million will be left in next year’s education budget,” said Colleen McPherson, director of Saskatoon Public School. “So I am chronic in education. I think there are still problems with the problem of lack of funds. “

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Regarding the government’s long-term plan, Duncan said the state would continue to discuss with the school board and provide resources where possible.

He said the state is spending a lot on new builds and maintenance when the increase in funding for operations may not seem to be that great.

Despite trying to deal with the pressure, Duncan said he couldn’t provide a guarantee.

“I’m not in a position. There is no minister of education who could be in a position to provide guarantees to the school district in the future,” he said. “It’s not the way we budget in Saskatchewan. Frankly, I don’t know if there are any states in this country that budget differently than we do.”

According to Duncan, the school board makes decisions outside the state’s control, such as all-day kindergartens that require more money from the school district’s operating budget.

“As you know, the school department has the ability to provide something like a kindergarten every day, every day, or even more, but” the government now, you fund it. “Must”, it’s not how this works, “he said.

Colleen McPherson, President of Saskatoon Public School.
Colleen McPherson, President of Saskatoon Public School. Photo by Matt Smith /Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Sean Davidson, chairman of the Saskatchewan Board of Education, said the dollar was encouraging but still insufficient to address all pressures, including rising electricity, energy and labor costs.

He said the organization has long advocated sustainable and predictable education funding.

“Since its catastrophic reduction year (2017-18), we haven’t seen the same willingness to invest in education, so that this particular funding is showing signs of change. I’m really looking forward to it, “said Davidson.

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Duncan has long said that the state offers a record investment in education. With these new dollars, the operating budget is now over $ 2 billion.

He suspects that additional money will be spent on the classroom, including the re-employment of some staff that the board was planning to cut.

The school district says it’s time to go back to the blueprints to understand where the new dollar is going. They must submit a revised budget by September.

Greg Miller, director of education at Regina Public School, said in a statement that the department needs time to find ways to get the most out of the dollar. Miller said these are temporary funds and cannot be used for basic operational pressure.

The Regina Catholic School said in a statement that it welcomed additional funding.

McPherson said no decision has been made yet, but it may be difficult to roll back the position the department was planning to cut back.

“We will consider all the possibilities to improve the situation with this additional funding,” she said.

Mr Kotilak said the dollar would cover inflation costs in the prairie valley.

“I want to be able to budget for more than a year at a time,” she said. “If we have access to reliable and sustainable financing, it will make our strategic planning better and easier.”

According to Duncan, many of the generally reduced positions across the state were covered by a temporary COVID of $ -19.

“They were never intended to be permanent dollars and should not have been a permanent position,” he said. “This is one of the things that all of this was missing last month.”

jsimes@postmedia.com

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Saskatchewan.Board of Education says funding needs to be overhauled despite a $ 20 million boost

Source link Saskatchewan.Board of Education says funding needs to be overhauled despite a $ 20 million boost

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