SASKATOON – While class is out for students across Saskatchewan for the Easter long weekend, class was in for both Cam Broten and Brad Wall.
Broten, the NDP’s leader, spent Saturday morning decorating Easter eggs at the Taylor Street campaign office. After the fun was over he restated his platform promise to stop education cuts.
“We look at their budget from March to third quarter, we see a cut to education of $51.3 million. That’s significant. That’s wrong,” he said.
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Broten blames Saskatchewan Party budget cuts for the potential layoffs of as many as 75 teachers and education assistants in the Prairie Spirit School Division.
“When we have a school division coming forward now saying they’ll be laying off 75 teachers and education assistants because of cuts, that’s also wrong,” said Broten.
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Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall was also in Saskatoon at the Willowgrove campaign office and responded to those comments.
“We wanted to save in administration costs related to education and not affect the classroom. So the operating money that goes to the classroom have not been cut,” says the Sask Party leader.
“In the case of this school division they have issued, what I think are very premature notices, layoff notices,” says Wall, “I haven’t heard this school division say they’re going to cut back on their own administrative costs. That’s probably an important question to ask.”
According to Wall, the Prairie Spirit School Division has received increases in operation and preventative maintenance funding.
“There operating funding is up thirty per cent. Their enrollment is up twenty per cent. They’ve received huge capital dollar investments from government to build new schools, including a brand new joint use school,” says Wall, “They’ve also received a $1.4 million increase in maintenance capital. This is a twenty per cent increase from the year before.”
The New Democrats have laid out a plan for education if they’re elected.
Hire 300 more teachersHire 300 more educational assistantsRestore the mid-year adjustment to properly fund enrollment after the start of the school yearImprove funding for school divisionsWork with school boards to set caps on class sizes, starting with Kindergarten to Grade 2Double funding for Early Childhood Intervention ProgramsIncrease funding for Early Childhood Development Programs by 50 per centBy Year 4, when fully implemented, these commitments are an additional $56.5 million in
The Saskatchewan Party are promising to build on their education investments.
The Saskatchewan Party:
40 new or replaced schools and 25 major renovations undertakenNearly $966 million invested in capital funding since 200818 new joint-use schools are under construction in Saskatchewan’s fastest growing communities31 per cent increase in operational funding in the province104 per cent increase in pre-kindergarten programs, more than doubling programs from 155 to 316Education Property Tax on agricultural land reduced by 80 per centIncreased teachers and support workers in education:Over 600 more regular teachers200 more student support teachers45 per cent increase in psychologists24 per cent increase in speech language pathologists14 per cent increase in social workers53 per cent increase in occupational therapists8 per cent increase in English as Additional Language teachers