Opposition accuses Sask. government of cutting teachers despite growing enrolment

The Opposition is accusing the government of cutting back on teachers, at the same time as thousands more students are enrolled in Saskatchewan classrooms.

Education Minister says final numbers not available yet

The Opposition's Carla Beck says as thousands more students are enrolled in Saskatchewan schools, the government is cutting back on teachers. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

The Opposition says the government is cutting back on teachers, at the same time as thousands more students are enrolled in Saskatchewan classrooms.

"It's really reaching a critical level," said Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF).

He said his organization has 181 fewer members than last year. 

"The frustrating thing is that the previous minister gave us his word that the cuts to education would not be experienced in the classroom," Maze said. 

"That's just not what we're finding."

Education critic Carla Beck raised the issue of fewer teachers for more students in Question Period on Monday.

"There's no way that that's not impacting learning on the front line," Beck said. "And of course we're hearing that from teachers, we're hearing that from students, we're hearing that from parents right across the province."

The president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, Patrick Maze, says his group has 181 fewer members this year. (CBC)

Education Minister Bronwyn Eyre says the STF is including administrative positions in their numbers.

"So superintendents and assistant deputy positions, that sort of thing," Eyre said.

But she acknowledges that the province is growing, with more students in school.

"It comes with challenges to be sure," Eyre told reporters. "But on the other hand we've never had more support positions across the [Education] sector ever in this province than we have right now."

Education Minister Bronwyn Eyre says the final number of students and teachers in Saskatchewan classrooms this year is not yet known. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

Maze said the only administrative positions included in the STF numbers would be principals and vice-principals.

"If you cut an administrator position, that makes more work for teachers because then they're responsible for completing some of the administrative duties," Maze said. 

"Somebody has to do those duties."

The STF is encouraging its members to get involved in electing the new leader of both the governing party and the Opposition, to have more say over education.