Pro­test­ers gather to speak out about ed­u­ca­tion cuts

Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

A vo­cal group of pro­test­ers met on May 5 to voice their op­po­si­tion to a se­ries of changes to ed­u­ca­tion they say will have a neg­a­tive im­pact on chil­dren.

Speak­ers dur­ing the Fri­day af­ter­noon rally voice con­cerns over fund­ing cuts in the pro­vin­cial bud­get, along with new pow­ers granted to the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­ster fol­low­ing the ap­proval of Bill 63. Fri­day’s Show Up To Save Our Schools Rally was held in front of Pre­mier Brad Wall’s Swift Cur­rent Con­stituency of­fice.

“The roll­backs are ab­so­lutely lu­di­crous,” said Omar Mur­ray, a school bus driver from Maple Creek who is also Pres­i­dent of CUPE Lo­cal 4754 which rep­re­sents sup­port work­ers in the Chi­nook School Di­vi­sion.

“I have talked to a lot of my mem­bers and they are very con­cerned be­cause these cuts, whether they want to say it or not, di­rectly im­pact the chil­dren.”

The Chi­nook School Di­vi­sion has laid off at least nine staff fol­low­ing re­ceiv­ing a re­duc­tion of 7.3 per cent, or $6 mil­lion from what they were an­tic­i­pat­ing to op­er­ate for the com­ing year.

These ed­u­ca­tion cuts are also be­ing felt across the province af­ter the bud­get de­liv­ered $22 mil­lion in re­duced fund­ing, and Saskatchewan post-se­condary fund­ing was dropped by $30 mil­lion.

Stacey Lo­lacher, also from SEIU West, spoke of the im­pact of cuts be­ing felt by teach­ers and other ed­u­ca­tion work­ers.

“We know what our teach­ers do for chil­dren out of their own pock­ets. There’s noth­ing left to give,” she said of the cuts.

“I don’t un­der­stand how there is money for mil­lion and bil­lion dol­lar cor­po­ra­tions to get more tax cuts, while our par­ents are pay­ing more for food, and clothes,” she said. “And how the gov­ern­ment is telling our ed­u­ca­tion work­ers to chop a lit­tle more off ev­ery cor­ner, to take some days off in our health­care. There’s noth­ing left to give.”

Lo­lacher noted that their protest is just a con­tin­u­a­tion of ef­forts which are oc­cur­ring across the province.

“If they thought that they could re­verse the cuts to our li­braries, and that we’d all just go home sat­is­fied, they were sorely mis­taken.”

“We didn’t get a chance to vote on this bud­get. No­body did. We didn’t know about it. So we aren’t go­ing home un­til our cuts are re­versed. Un­til our chil­dren are looked af­ter. That’s why we’re here to­day.”

Chris Mul­hall, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of SEIU West, pointed out that while the province made the de­ci­sion to keep elected school boards, the pass­ing of Bill 63 takes away much of their abil­i­ties. The South­west con­trib­uted 1,100 of the over 5,000 re­sponses given in re­ac­tion to the K-12 Ed­u­ca­tion Gov­er­nance Re­port sub­mit­ted by Dan Per­rins.

“They ac­knowl­edged the word but didn’t ac­knowl­edge the spirt. What they’re do­ing here now is they’ve stripped away the rights to fund and the rights to do the ma­jor de­ci­sions from our School Board. They’ve made the Schools Boards the face, and the buf­fer zone, for all the in­sult and anger that’s go­ing to come back over these cuts.”

“It’s un­fair to our trus­tees. They have our chil­dren’s best in­ter­ests at heart. The staff here have our chil­dren’s best in­ter­ests at heart. Our com­mu­nity has our chil­dren’s best in­ter­ests at heart. Un­for­tu­nately we have folks that have made de­ci­sions other­wise.”

He added that the province still has time to re­verse their ed­u­ca­tion cuts.

“The way you fix that is ad­mit­ting it,” Mul­hall said. “Ad­mit your mis­take, re­turn the fund­ing back to our chil­dren be­cause that’s the right thing to do.”

SCOTT AN­DER­SON/SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

A protest was held in down­town Swift Cur­rent on May 5 to speak out against ed­u­ca­tion cuts in the pro­vin­cial bud­get.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.