Saskatoon

Sask. school boards unhappy with provincial budget, survey shows

A survey of school board members in Saskatchewan shows many aren’t pleased with the Saskatchewan budget released earlier this month.

School boards give average rating of 'not good' to budget

Results from a school board survey show many are unhappy with the provincial budget released in June. (Hadrian/Shutterstock)

A survey of school boards in Saskatchewan shows most aren't pleased with the Saskatchewan budget released earlier this month.

The boards provided an average rating of two on a scale of five, or Not Good when asked about the overall effect of the budget on their school divisions according to the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA).

The biggest concern comes in light of the education minister's comments this week where he said the province was only covering half of the teacher's 1.9 per cent salary increase.

"A high number of respondents cited the lack of funding available to cover increases for teachers negotiated in the provincial collective bargaining agreement, and other pressures, as of major concern," the results from the survey showed.

Connie Bailey, president of the SSBA, said school boards are going to do their best to ensure students aren't negatively impacted by the situation.

"We want to ensure we offer the best educational opportunities possible for our province's students, by focusing on continuous improvement in the system, ensuring that our teachers are paid and that we can cover general operating costs," Bailey said in a news release.

"But certainly the timing and reductions in the budget this year pose major challenges for boards of education."

The school boards surveyed cited positives in the provincial budget, touting the recognition of current enrolment numbers and an increase in maintenance funds. Many said those changes changes were offset by the lack of funding for increases to teachers' salaries.

The result is overall funding decreases for many boards and allocations that do not reflect inflation.

"When the government took over responsibility for setting education property tax rates, they also took on responsibility for ensuring that education in Saskatchewan is adequately funded," Bailey said.

"Our member boards are strongly indicating that is not the case in this most recent budget … Some member boards will have to find cuts and others are planning to use dollars reserved for major projects for their operating expenses for the coming year."

Corrections

  • A previous version of the story said that 40% of school boards were unhappy with the provincial budget. This has been changed to reflect that a school boards gave the budget an average rating of two out of five, or Not Good.
    Jun 17, 2016 12:18 PM CT

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