Skip to main content

Sask. NDP says education 'budget chaos' is bad for kids, families

The Saskatchewan NDP is describing the Sask. Party's approach to school funding "last-minute budget chaos."

After an outcry from school divisions, school boards, and unions, the Sask. Party government announced a $40 million top-up for the province's schools.

“It’s clear from the rally that was held on the steps of the legislature that this is a major issue for both parents and educators. Everyone’s family is impacted by these cuts in different ways and it’s frustrating knowing that this all could have been prevented had the government just properly invested in our kids,” opposition NDP leader Carla Beck said in a news release.

The additional funding came a month after Premier Scott Moe indicated more money could be coming for schools, following a rally held at the legislature calling for more money for students.

A day before education minister Dustin Duncan announced the new money, multiple school divisions told CTV News they still hadn't heard anything and were still busy trying to create their budgets based on the money they were promised in the provincial budget.

“It’s been a while since a provincial budget was so bad that emergency funding was announced just three weeks later,” NDP education critic Matt Love said in the news release.

While the Saskatchewan government's 2023-24 budget projected a $1 billion surplus, the province's school divisions argued their funding allotment in the March budget amounted to a less-than-one per cent increase — insufficient to handle growing enrollment.

Even with the additional money announced last week, the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation and Saskatchewan School Boards Association both say the money falls short of what is actually needed to fund schools adequately.

With the additional $40 million, the education ministry says the operating budget for Saskatchewan's 27 school divisions for the 2023-24 school year now sits at $2.08 billion.

While speaking with reporters on Thursday, Duncan indicated it may be time to look at the annual timeline for school budgeting.

"Maybe that doesn't work for any of us anymore," Duncan said.

"I've committed to the school divisions [that] we're certainly willing to continue a conversation with them."

--With files from Josh Lynn Top Stories

Stay Connected