Reaction is coming in from all sides regarding the new contract delivered by binding arbitration to Saskatchewan teachers. While the province was looking for a 3.67% pay decrease, the teachers were awarded 0% in the first year and a 1% raise in the second.
"There are over 840 more professionals working in public education in this province than there was in 2008," explained Minister of Education, Gordon Wyant. "I think we've done a pretty good job in ensuring that we're supporting classrooms, supporting our children in the classrooms. In terms of the numbers, I think the delivery of education in the classrooms is pretty good. I'm proud of the work the teachers are doing in the school systems."
"We've had a 13% increase in enrollment in the last ten years and a 35% increase in funding in school divisions so I think that demonstrates a significant commitment to public education by this government."
He added that he knows the public wants a good education system for students and he believes that's what we have.
"We'll continue to look at the situation, we'll continue to monitor it. We're having ongoing conversations within government in terms of funding levels, in terms of commitment to public education and there'll be potentially more to say about that. But from my perspective, I think kids in the classroom, kids in this province are getting a good education with the system that's being provided and the funding that's being provided by the province."
He also mentioned it wasn't the government who left the bargaining table during contract talks.
"It was the teachers that requested binding arbitration and that was their right and this was the result. I think at the end of the day, we have the highest per pupil funding in the country so I think that's a significant number. But at the end of the day, it was the teachers who left. I invited the STF back to the bargaining table and I was prepared to go back but they decided they wanted binding arbitration and that's the result."
This contract will remain in effect until September 2019 when the two will have to negotiate a new deal.
"We're going to be entering further negotiations now with the contract, I think in May we start these conversations again with respect to a new contract. We will work diligently as a government to ensure that the directive that has come from the arbitrator will be fully implemented as quickly as possible."