Saskatchewan school divisions have been asking for an increased budget for education since after the province released the yearly budget which some officials said wasn't enough.
One of the voices asking for that increase is the Saskatchewan Teacher's Federation, which says that the first few weeks of school have shown current funding is lacking.
They held a conference yesterday on the topic, which featured President Samantha Becotte who began her first term with the organization back in July.
She says that the lack of resources has been pronounced in classrooms this year thanks to the current funding from the province.
"Teachers know that students need to be supported in their schools, and unfortunately we know that there are fewer teachers in our schools this year than there were last year. We've heard school boards talking about program cuts, there are students who need one-on-one support who don't have an EA in their classroom."
Becotte says that the amount that they'd need is different for school divisions, as many are in unique circumstances.
There are a number of factors that are causing a lack of resources, which could potentially be solved by an increase in budget.
"Teachers and parents want what is best for the students, we want them to be supported in their schools. We're seeing higher class sizes this year," said Becotte, "That there are few teachers in schools, and I've been hearing stories very similar across the province about issues in schools that students need one-on-one support."
Teachers have already made their plans for the school year and may have to change those if the budget isn't sufficient enough.
"We create our plans, and I know myself as a parent when I create plans for my kids and things change," said Becotte, "That we need to adjust to those changes, but we want to create the best plan possible so that we can create success right from the beginning. We want to see a budget come out that we know is going to support the students that we have in the classrooms."
UPDATE: The Ministry of Education responded to our request for comment at 3:37 PM with the following statement:
The Government of Saskatchewan is providing Saskatchewan’s 27 school divisions with a one-time investment of $20 million in funding for the 2022-23 school year to assist with rising fuel and insurance costs. As a result of these additional funds, school divisions will be able to prevent inflationary costs from diverting resources away from classrooms.
In addition to the $20 million funding announcement, Saskatchewan’s 27 school divisions will receive $1.99 billion in school operating funding for the 2022-23 school year, an increase of $29.4 million or 1.5 per cent over the 2021-22 school year. This will provide $6 million for additional classroom supports and fully fund the 2 per cent teacher salary increase. In addition to this increase, there is $7 million to allow school divisions to hire up to 200 new educational assistants for the 2022-23 school year.
Funding to schools divisions will be updated to reflect actual September 30th enrolments when confirmed in the fall.
While government provides funding to school divisions for the provision of programs, supports and services, school divisions have the responsibility to make decisions within their allocated budget to meet local priorities and address the needs of their students and teachers.