The Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation (STF) is reacting to comments made by Moose Jaw MLAs to Holy Trinity Catholic School Division trustees last week.  

The federation is saying, while there was nothing false in the comments made, what was said doesn’t tell the whole story.  

During a Q&A session, Moose Jaw Wakamow MLA Greg Lawrence noted that education is the second largest line item in the provincial government’s budget.  

The STF says, while that is true, the provincial government’s education funding as a percentage of total government spending has been falling.  

“We haven't kept up with inflationary costs over the past several years, as well as cutting education budgets over several years. So, our concern at the federation is that we just have not kept pace with the cost of providing education. We have more students but with less resources,” said STF vice president Nathan Bromm.  

When asked about inflation, Moose Jaw North MLA Tim McLeod said that the provincial government “can't necessarily tie funding to inflation. The government’s reserves don't rise and fall directly proportional to inflation and therefore neither funding for each ministry can be tied directly to inflation.”  

In 2022-2023, the government did spend $7 million to hire 200 new educational assistants and one-time funding of $20 million to offset the rising cost of fuel and insurance.  

Bromm said, while the additional funding was welcome, it won’t help the financial pressures of school divisions in the long term.  

“Our concern at the federation is those are short-term, temporary fixes. We need to see a sustainable education formula. Something that is stable from year to year that boards can predict and that they will know as costs rise,” Bromm said.  

Saskatchewan’s school divisions received $1.99 billion in operating funding in 2022-2023 from the provincial budget, an increase of $29.4 million from 2021-2022 or 1.5 per cent.  

The STF cited a Fraser Institute study that showed Saskatchewan had the second-highest enrolment increase between 2012-2013 and 2019-2020 at 9.6 per cent. The highest enrolment increase was in Alberta with 15.5 per cent.  

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan was one of three provinces that saw a decline in inflation-adjusted per-student spending. According to the study, Saskatchewan went from the highest per-student spending province in 2012-2013 to the sixth highest spender.  

The study shows a similar situation with operational spending. Saskatchewan ranked second in operational education inflation-adjusted per-student spending in 2012-2013. Nearly a decade later, the study has Saskatchewan ranked sixth in the country.