In 'surprise' move, Sask. says it will fully fund teachers in coming school year
Announcement a reversal of previous stance from April budget
Premier Scott Moe announced Wednesday that the Saskatchewan government will fully pay the cost of a new contract for teachers in the province when the ongoing arbitration process is complete.
The announcement was made at the Saskatoon Teachers' Association Convention with thousands of teachers in attendance.
"We need to commit to fully fund this contract so that the valuable resources that we have in our education sectors, in our schools are not diverted from our classrooms," Moe said.
This is a turnaround from the government's previous stance.
In May, Education Minister Gordon Wyant said the Saskatchewan government would not commit to fully funding a contract with the province's teachers.
A new collective bargaining agreement, currently in arbitration, wasn't included as a line item in the April provincial budget. At the time, Wyant said the government did not want to contribute to any expectations as to what a contract might look like.
On Wednesday at the teachers' convention, Wyant said the change to their previous position is due to the government trying to "reset" their relationship with the education sector.
Reversal a 'surprise' to teachers
Patrick Maze, the president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, said he welcomed the government's change of heart.
"It was a bit of a surprise," he said. "It's nice to know that government is accepting their responsibility to fund education."
Maze added the relationship still needs some mending. He said he hopes to see teachers, parents and communities gain a greater voice in their children's education in the future.
"Teachers don't have a voice on the Education Sector Strategic Plan, parents and communities also don't have a voice because they've been basically written out of the ability to participate in any conversation about the sector plan," said Maze. "It's basically the ministry and directors of education from each school division."