About 200 Saskatchewan parents who are frustrated with the province’s cuts to education took their concerns to the legislature on Wednesday.
Trista Wilson organized Wednesday’s rally after the Regina public school board said it was eliminating preschool programs for special needs kids because the province cut funding. Education Minister Don Morgan has since said he won’t approve a budget from Regina Public Schools that cuts the preschool programs, but he also said there won’t be more money coming from the province.
Wilson says that’s not good enough.
“Not at all. Don Morgan needs to put his money where his mouth is,” said Wilson.
The mother of three says the programs help a lot of children, who are the most vulnerable, get ready for kindergarten. She says her son, William, was barely verbal before starting the program and now he’s speaking in full sentences.
“He’s come a long way just since the fall when he started the Discovery preschool program. It is so valuable to so many children in our community.”
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association has said operating funding is down about three per cent, or $55 million, for the upcoming school year. The association says that amounts to an average drop of almost $500 a student across the province.
Association president Shawn Davidson said boards have already been trying to find savings through things such as joint purchasing and joint transportation.But that won’t make up for the cut, he said Monday.
The cuts come as the Saskatchewan government tries to tackle a $1.3-billion deficit. The budget introduced last month plans to get that down to $685 million in the year ahead.