REGINA – Saskatchewan school boards continue to call for increased investment in education, but recognize the priority areas they have identified are reflected in the provincial government’s budget for 2019-20 released today.
“Investment means being able to do more than maintain the status quo,” said Dr. Shawn Davidson, president of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA). “While some funding previously cut is being restored, this budget fall shorts of even status-quo levels, as opposed to the investment we wanted to see for students.”
Today’s budget includes some restoration of operational funding that was significantly cut two years ago, but the increase is not enough to fully meet pressures of growth and inflation. The budget does include announcements on designing new schools, continuing capital projects underway and increasing infrastructure maintenance and renewal. It also recognizes salary increases negotiated as part of the provincial teacher collective agreement.
In advance of the budget, school boards in Saskatchewan identified priorities for investment if funding was increased beyond the status quo, recognizing enrolment growth and inflation. Those included supports for early years, mental health and wellness, diverse classrooms, intensive needs and staffing levels and development.
“These are priorities for the future, where new investment in students would benefit Saskatchewan’s economy,” Davidson said. “We appreciate these priorities are being heard, though levels in this budget will not enable school boards to make significant new investment in these areas. Boards will be challenged just to maintain stability.”
Davidson said school boards will now be working through the individual funding allocations for their divisions to determine what exactly those will mean for the next school year.
“We have heard loud and clear from Saskatchewan people that education is a priority,” he added. “It is important to locally elected school board members that community voices and views are genuinely considered when decisions are being made about education. We recognize and appreciate the Minister of Education for listening and look forward to continued engagement.”
REGINA – If investment in education is increased beyond the status quo, school boards in Saskatchewan envision early years and mental health as two high priorities for additional support.
“We surveyed our member school boards across the province about their highest priorities and those two themes emerged consistently,” said Dr. Shawn Davidson, president of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA). “We could affect outcomes in these areas if we had increased investment. At the same time, these are areas in which we won’t be able to provide additional supports if funding for education remains at status-quo levels.”
In the SSBA’s recent survey, early years supports was mentioned most often, with boards referring to increasing investment to support learning at Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 3 levels. Expanding mental health and wellness supports was another area mentioned by most respondents. Improving support for diverse classrooms and intensive needs were also common themes identified by boards, along with increasing staffing levels and development.
Davidson explained that ‘status quo’ funding for boards in the 2019-20 provincial budget to be released next month would mean funding levels that reflect enrolment growth and inflation, while ‘beyond the status quo’ would mean additional funding to enable improved investment.
“We want to communicate what improved investment in education means to school boards in Saskatchewan,” Davidson said. “Boards have worked hard to limit the impacts of funding cuts made two years ago, while continuing to face growth and inflation pressures. But we also have identified priorities for the future, where new investment would benefit outcomes for our province’s students.”
Survey respondents also emphasized the need for stability and predictability in education funding, a continued focus on student achievement through reconciliation and the importance of partnerships on shared priority areas.
REGINA – Prairie Spirit School Division has received the 2018 Premier’s Board of Education Award for Innovation and Excellence in Education, for its submission of “innovative music programming” in the division.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) co-ordinates the Premier’s Award each year. The award was presented on behalf of Premier Scott Moe during the SSBA Annual General Assembly on Friday night.
“I want to congratulate Prairie Spirit School Division for winning this year’s award,” Todd Goudy, MLA for Melfort, said on behalf of Premier Moe. “This award honours the great work in Prairie Spirit schools, which includes expanding opportunities through an innovative music program that brings quality music education to rural schools.”
In its application for the award, Prairie Spirit School Division said a new approach to music programming called “Resonate” (www.resonatelive.ca) was initiated in the division in 2015. Resonate is designed to be an inclusive approach to music programming in the division and involves a number of channels and outlets, including a student music conference, teacher professional development, performances and other events.
“We measure success for our school board by whether students and teachers are successful,” said Prairie Spirit Board Chair Sam Dyck. “Resonate gives us feedback that tells us the subject matter is relevant and that parents are engaged in the students’ learning – two of the factors we use as key ingredients to achieve student success.”
The $3,000 award is sponsored by Xerox Canada. The award recipient is recommended by a panel that includes representation from education sector partners.
“For 20 years, Xerox Canada has been investing in the education of our future leaders and proud to continue supporting the development of youth and students in our community,” said Xerox Regional Manager Bal Badh.
Developed in 1999, the Premier’s Award recognizes educational innovations and improvements focused on student achievement that have been advanced or directed by boards of education. The prize is to be used to support or extend the innovation or project.
“The Premier’s Award highlights the great work being done by school boards throughout the province,” said SSBA President Dr. Shawn Davidson. “While there is only one recipient of the award each year, every submission is worthy of recognition for promoting efforts to help ensure success for all students.”
Two life members of the SSBA were also recognized during the assembly – Connie Bailey, former trustee for Sun West School Division, and Élizabeth Perreault, former trustee of the Conseil des écoles fransaskoises. Both served for many years through their efforts as trustees and on the Provincial Executive of the SSBA.
The Association also presents its Award of Distinction in recognition of outstanding service and significant contribution to enhancing education in Saskatchewan. Three Award of Distinction recipients were recognized this year – Larry Caswell (Chinook), Bert de Gooijer (Prairie Valley) and Ray Morrison (Saskatoon Public).
The first-ever Local Government Week has been proclaimed in the province at the joint request of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), and the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA).
Saskatchewan’s Government Relations Minister Warren Kaeding officially proclaimed the Week, which runs from November 12 to 16.
“Mayors, reeves, chairs, councillors, trustees, and administrative officials all contribute to shaping the quality of life delivered to our province’s citizens and their families. They all play key roles in working with their neighbouring communities and other government partners. On behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan, it’s a pleasure to have this week recognize their valuable contributions and insights that help keep this great province strong,” said Kaeding.
“SARM understands the important role reeves and councillors play in governing RMs,” said SARM President Ray Orb. “We are committed to building capacity at the local level and are pleased to recognize Local Government Week.”
“Local governments are responsible for the services and infrastructure that many residents rely on daily,” said SUMA President Gordon Barnhart. “Local Government Week provides a formal opportunity to highlight this work and more.”
The call to recognize Local Government Week with an official proclamation from the province emerged through discussions between the partner organizations as an excellent opportunity to increase awareness and engagement in the province’s systems of local democracy.
“Locally-elected governments are the voice of the people and provide connection and accountability to communities,” said SSBA President Dr. Shawn Davidson. “Decisions are best made at the grassroots level and local governments have credibility and relationships with their communities.”
For more information: https://saskschoolboards.ca/advocacy/local-government-week/
Teachers and the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee today signed a new collective agreement.
On Sept. 7, 2018, an arbitration board handed down a decision, outlining a new collective agreement for teachers in the province’s schools.
The agreement, signed today in Regina, is based on language outlined in that arbitration ruling. The agreement covers the period from Sept. 1, 2017, to Aug. 31, 2019.
The parties would like to thank the members of the arbitration board for their work.
- Provincial Collective Bargaining Agreement – Effective September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2019
- Interpretive Bulletin for the 2017-2019 Provincial Collective Bargaining Agreement
REGINA – The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) is encouraging everyone to wear orange and to think about residential schools as “Orange Shirt Day” is officially proclaimed in the province.
“There is an opportunity around Orange Shirt Day for reflection to occur regarding residential schools,” said Dr. Shawn Davidson, SSBA president. “We need to keep building understanding about this shared history.”
Orange Shirt Day is recognized on Sept. 30 each year and is part of a larger movement in the country to provide opportunity for First Nations, governments, schools and communities to unite in a spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.
“Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity to honour the residential school students and acknowledge their experiences,” Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant said. “We want to ensure that all Saskatchewan people take the time to understand the impact of residential schools.”
The Orange Shirt Day movement is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, B.C., in 2013. It grew out of the account of a young girl having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the mission.
Orange Shirt Day was first proclaimed in Saskatchewan in 2016, in response to a resolution passed by the province’s trustees at the SSBA Spring General Assembly.