A message to stakeholders released by Darlene Rowden, Sask. Party candidate and Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division Board Chair, was inappropriate and created more questions than answers this week.

In her letter, Rowden, who is the Sask. Party candidate for the Batoche constituency in the next general election, suggests that including classroom size and complexity in a collective agreement poses a threat to local board governance and would result in a “fundamental shift away from public education and inclusive schooling in Saskatchewan.”

She adds that having class size and complexity in collective agreements would somehow prevent parents from sending their kids to school as planned and could force children to go to schools other than their choosing because of “cap and quota” systems. Rowden never provides any evidence this would be the case or acknowledges that there have been no discussions around caps or quotas as part of teachers’ bargaining in Saskatchewan.

“Who exactly is Darlene Rowden speaking on behalf of? It is very clear that the partisan board chair of the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division does not have the best interests of students, parents, and workers at heart,” said Kent Peterson, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “Specifically, her remarks about getting classroom size and complexity under control were partisan, inflammatory, and false.

“This partisan Sask. Party candidate appears to be looking out for Scott Moe and not looking out for students and their families,” said Peterson. “We represent thousands of education workers across the province, and I trust their professionalism, skills, and experience far more than a partisan board chair who is using her position to curry political favour for her upcoming campaign.”

Given the importance of the negotiations between the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government and the need to provide clear and accurate information to students, families, and stakeholders, CUPE Saskatchewan is calling for Darlene Rowden to stop spreading misinformation and to recuse herself from all decisions and communication related to ongoing negotiations.