CUPE education support workers, the frontline professionals working closely with complex needs students, are expressing significant reservations following the recent announcement by the Sask. Party government regarding the introduction of “specialized support” classrooms.

“This announcement has sparked concerns amongst our members, as there was a lack of consultation and justification for the selective inclusion of certain school divisions, leaving a vast majority of students without any tangible support,” said Omar Murray, chairperson of the CUPE Saskatchewan Education Workers’ Steering Committee. “As the backbone of student support services, education workers are alarmed at the absence of clear information regarding additional resources and funding to sustain these initiatives.”

CUPE education support workers emphasize the urgency of addressing the broader issues within the education system, such as chronic underfunding and resource shortages, which have a direct impact on the quality of support provided to students. The reduction in funding to school boards and the elimination of crucial resources, including psychologists and counsellors, have created a challenging environment for both students and staff.

“This is a temporary band-aid for a very large wound. For years, the provincial government has been reducing the funding to school boards, while blaming the boards for the cuts that have been made to student supports. Now with an election on the horizon and ongoing public outcry, the Ministry of Education is doing the bare minimum and paying lip service to a growing issue,” added Murray. “Without addressing the root causes, such measures may fall short of providing the comprehensive support that students and educators desperately need.”