According to preliminary reporting, more than 400 additional educational assistants are working in Saskatchewan schools compared to September 2021. 

Approximately 200 of these positions are provided by the Government of Saskatchewan's $7 million in targeted funding for school divisions to increase the number of educational assistants for the 2022-23 school year.

The announcement was made earlier this year as part of the province's education budget.

Ryan Boughen, Director of Education and CEO with Prairie South School Division, says they received about $200,000 at that time which will fund roughly five new educational assistant positions.

He notes educational assistants play a critical role in the division.

"They're there for two reasons. One is to directly support students. For the most part they're there to support students who are having difficulty accessing curriculum or if we have some concerns with safety...Those supports they provide to students directly help support teachers and allow teachers to provide increased support for those students as well."

Prairie South School Division has a target of about 172 full-time equivalent (FTE) educational assistants across the division. In February of 2021, the division had 168 educational assistants. This year they are targeting adding nine additional educational assistants, four out of their budget and five from the province.

Holy Trinity Catholic School Division will be receiving a little over $96,000 which will allow the division to retain some positions that they had previously and also add an additional 2.15 FTE positions.

CFO Curt Van Parys says they have brought some on already, and he expects to bring on a few more over the coming months.

"One specific thing that we were able to do is employ a half-time FTE at St. Agnes School for the Early Learning Intensive Support Program. This is a program that the school division took on on its own in the absence of any ministerial funding. The ministry typically funds such programs. This funding is just a perfect opportunity to keep that program going in terms of supporting the kids that need that type of support."

Van Parys notes funding from the province is expected to be released within a couple of months.