The Saskatchewan Teachers Federation recently learned that school boards across the province are being notified by the government to expect another wave of cuts in the 2018 provincial budget.
After last year's budget saw nearly 200 educators in the province lose their jobs, Federation President, Patrick Maze said there’s no way to introduce further cuts without seriously harming the quality of education provided to children in the province.
"We've been hearing from school divisions that they're trying to wrestle with very difficult budgets. We know that this year was a really tough budget year which resulted in over 188 fewer teachers across the province and we know that this could increase even further. We know that there was a directive to school divisions to try and keep the cuts as far away from students and the classroom, yet another round of cuts like this is going to be impossible to keep it out of the class room. Often it's the students who are the most vulnerable that require the extra supports when they have a learning disability or challenges, those are the ones who need it those most and the cuts are going to mean that those supports aren't available."
While it's unclear at this time as to how many cuts or how significant they will be, it remains to be seen what is in store for the South East Cornerstone Public School Division.
"Not to speculate too much, but the South East Cornerstone Public School Division is a large geographic division with smaller population of students, so these cuts significantly hurt these students with longer bus times, fewer supports in the classroom, higher pupil-teacher ratio which means the teacher cant get around to every student to give them the attention and time they need to receive proper instruction."
STF President Patrick Maze also made it very clear that parents, students and teachers alike should stand up and make their voice heard should these cut backs come to fruition.
"Government has a responsibility to fund public education and they're attempting to balance their books on overspent budgets on our student's backs and that's unacceptable. We want government to meet their responsibility to fund education, we know that the budget mess wasn't created in a year or two, this has been a long time thing right through the boom money was being spent faster than it was coming in.
"Education is our future and we look at it as an investment into our future. We would obviously prefer that it's well supported as opposed to adequately supported, but when they're actually looking to try and balance the books on our students who clearly didn't create the budget mess we are in, that's frustrating. It's an easy target because they don't have a voice and that's where we feel it's important for teachers, the public, parents to stand up for their kids and give them a voice," Maze concluded.