REGINA – The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) is recognizing the critical funding provided to the education system during the COVID-19 response, while also emphasizing the need for predictability and sustainability as the pandemic continues to cause uncertainty and challenges for school divisions going forward.
“The operating increase announced today in the province’s 2021-22 budget will ensure the collective bargaining agreement with teachers is fully funded next year,” said Dr. Shawn Davidson, president of the SSBA. “It’s important to note though that other inflationary costs are not covered in the increase and therefore school divisions may have difficult decisions to make.”
School boards are appreciative of the federal and provincial dollars that have been allocated over the past year to address urgent and emergent matters related to the pandemic, Davidson said. The focus on health and safety of students, staff and communities continues to be at the forefront during these challenging times and will be ongoing as the effects of the pandemic on school systems continue to be realized, he said.
“As we start to plan for what future years are going to look like, the overall message that we hear from school boards is around the importance of predictable and sustainable funding,” Davidson added. “As we move forward, post-pandemic, we really need to have a deeper conversation about how education is funded.”
As school divisions learn about today’s budget announcement in their local contexts, more will be understood about the anticipated effects, which might vary among regions, he noted.
The SSBA also recognizes the increase to mental-health spending announced in today’s budget that includes youth-focused initiatives. Mental health has been identified as a significant factor affecting student success and well-being. School boards applaud inter-ministerial collaboration on this important issue.