A new school year has just launched, and the organization that represents Saskatchewan's teachers says that evidence is already emerging to support the idea that schools continue to be underfunded. The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is fielding concerns from educators about funding levels and the direct impact on the province’s students. The Federation has launched a new communications campaign to get the word out and rally support for the system and its teachers. 

“Parents want what’s best for their children, and so do teachers. I became a teacher because I wanted to help kids be successful. Lack of funding means fewer students are having those breakthrough moments,” said Samantha Becotte, President of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. “Teachers are doing a remarkable job with the resources they have, but lack of funding means kids aren’t getting the support they need. This means not being able to get help with their speech or mental health support. It means fewer teachers in classrooms, less one-on-one time and that those who need an extra challenge won’t have the opportunity.”

In an online presentation, Becotte relays that concerns of one school counsellor who manages a caseload of 200 children and likens to situation to providing triage. The government's budget in March failed to provide for a growing student population, states the Federation’s release. In spite of an additional injection of funding in the following months, the situation is that schools remain underfunded, maintains the Federation. 

The new campaign released by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation highlights the different needs and strengths students bring to school with them each day. It asks the Government of Saskatchewan to work with parents and teachers to fund education so all students can thrive and be successful. The impact of underfunding is impacting students differently; it is a provincewide issue, says the release.  

“We are launching this campaign to help move the conversations we are having at work, in our homes and at the rink to a more public conversation,” said Becotte. “Our schools are great places for students to learn. But the reality is, fewer students are going to have those experiences if there isn’t enough funding. Teachers understand that all of the challenges can’t be fixed right away. Providing enough funding so divisions don’t have to make cuts would be a meaningful start towards making sure more students aren’t left behind.” 

The Federation is also inviting teachers, parents and anyone concerned about the future of students’ education to join the conversation and share their experiences by visiting www.tellthemtuesday.com.