The Prince Albert Catholic School Division was happy with the announcement in late July of a one-time investment of $20 million in funding for the 2022-23 school year.
The funds will assist with rising fuel and insurance costs for the province's school divisions.
Catholic School Division Director of Education Lorel Trumier said that the division appreciated the investment as it released some of the financial stress caused by the inflationary pressure.
“We are certainly pleased with any funding that is able to support our processes to ultimately educate our children and inflationary costs do have a lot to do with what we are contending with,” Trumier said.
The Prince Albert Catholic School Division will receive $262,500 of the $20 million promised to school divisions, while the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division will receive $956,20.
“What it is going to really do is just help us, at the end of the day, release some of those dollars that we had built in our budget for inflationary costs and perhaps help us out a little bit with our staffing pictures and supporting our students in that capacity,” Trumier explained.
Both divisions passed balanced budgets at their final meetings of the school year on June 20. The additional funding means both divisions will have to resubmit their budgets to the province. Trumier said that they will have until the end of the first week of September to resubmit. “We will be trying to work those pieces out and that's what we are working on right now. We will inform the board at our next meeting and hopefully derive a plan by the September 7 meeting, so everything would be assessed by then and put in its place for a resubmission of the budget.”
The new money is all earmarked for transportation and insurance costs. The amount received is based on the funding distribution formula already used by the province.
Education Minister Dustin Duncan touted the funding increase as a way to help school divisions prevent inflationary costs from diverting resources away from classrooms.
"Our government recognizes the impacts rising costs across the country have on our schools and we are committed to ensuring every Saskatchewan student and teacher has the supports needed to achieve success in the classroom," Duncan said in a release.
As part of the 2022-23 budget, the Ministry of Education announced a record investment in education spending of $2.88 billion.
That funding included $1.99 billion in school operating funding for the 2022-23 school year, an increase of $29.4 million or 1.5 per cent over the 2021-22 school year.
With this additional investment, school operating funding exceeds $2 billion for the first time in the province's history.
In addition to the increase in operating funding, the province also announced a new $7 million fund to allow school divisions to hire up to 200 new educational assistants for the 2022-23 school year.
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald