The announcement of a rushed one-month review of Saskatchewan’s K–12 education system is another misguided step in the provincial government’s so-called transformational change agenda, according to CUPE.
“We don’t need a rushed review looking for pocket change because of the provincial government’s growing deficit. We need education support workers and resources for our children to receive the quality education they deserve,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan.
Education Minister Don Morgan announced that the review will look to reduce and amalgamate school divisions and may even fundamentally remove the democratic system of elected school board trustees in favour of appointees.
“The Minister appears to be relying on anecdotes to justify a misguided overhaul of the education system instead of doing the homework,” says Graham. “There is no evidence amalgamations would achieve any cost savings, and clearly the government hasn’t learned from its past mistakes of failing to properly consult with those they will affect with their decisions.”
School divisions, receiving the bulk of their funding from provincial operating grants, have already felt a squeeze in finances with some divisions resorting to significant layoffs and reduced hours of education support workers. Moreover, some school divisions have been using reserve funds to make up for a funding shortfall and to offset cuts, which the Education Minister has made clear will come to an end. CUPE is concerned the K-12 education system review will only further the cuts to frontline support for students.
“If the government is looking for savings, they should review their costly P3 school scheme agenda which has been proven in every other jurisdiction to be a costly mistake.”