Pallister Government Hurting Schools; Setting Stage for Worse Outcomes for Students

The Pallister government’s refusal to properly fund public schools will hurt students by making it tougher for teachers to offer the high-quality education families expect and deserve, NDP education critic Wab Kinew said today.

“The world is changing and we need to prepare students for the jobs and society of the future, which means we need to invest more in education, not less.” Kinew said. “But today, the Pallister government has said it will give public schools millions less than they will need to keep up with inflation and rising costs.”

The province announced today that schools would receive an increase of $13.1 million, or about one per cent more next year. That increase is less than inflation, and less than the rate of economic growth, estimated at 2.3 per cent for 2017. In past years, schools received annual operating grant increases of about $25 million - about a 2.5 per cent increase.

“The Pallister government is being hypocritical,” Kinew said. “They criticize the federal government for reducing the increase of health transfers from six per cent to 3.5 per cent, but now trumpet their cut to the annual funding increase from 2.5 per cent to one per cent.”

Kinew pointed out that costs are going up and inflation is going up by more than one per cent, so the Pallister government’s funding announcement amounts to a cut for schools. This is the same argument the Pallister government has used in criticizing the federal government, Kinew noted.

“Schools will receive millions less than they would have if the Pallister government had simply kept pace with inflation - but they didn't,” Kinew said. “Instead, the Pallister government has frozen funding for special needs students and set schools and students back with an increase that's less than inflation.”

“In addition, instead of actually putting resources in literacy and numeracy as families were promised, the Pallister government has further delayed any real action,” Kinew said. “Students and teachers need real supports, not symbolic shows of support.”