Funding cuts to Saskatchewan’s education boards have teachers struggling to mitigate the impact on students, says the president of the Regina Public School Teachers’ Association.
Jeff Perry said staff have had to be reassigned and program supports for students with specialized needs reduced.
“They won’t have as much time for dealing with specific students’ issues like they have in the past,” Perry said of guidance counsellors, who have been reassigned to classroom duties.
Perry said students who struggle to learn in conventional classrooms will have to go back to those environments, where there may be distractions or other issues.
“It’s going to make it hard for us to meet targets raised by the ministry [of education] in graduation rates and so on,” Perry said.
“Those things get in the way and slow down the progress and the success of students. If they can’t get those needs met immediately, then it just continues to interfere with their learning.”
Teachers, Indigenous advocates and librarians have also been reassigned.
Positions are being lost at the high school level as well, which result in heavier work loads for teachers, Perry said.
The losses could lead to larger class sizes, Perry added.
He would like to see more long-term planning in the future as far as budgets go.
“Education really shouldn’t be at the whim of an economic cycle,” he said.