Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation calls for withdrawal of amendments to 2 education-related acts

Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation calls for withdrawal of amendments to 2 education-related acts

The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation is calling on the provincial government to withdraw proposed amendments to two education-related acts, saying they will erode the decision-making powers of local school boards.

Federation president Patrick Maze said there wasn't effective consultation on the changes proposed in Bills 48 and 63, despite a statement by the minister that the amendments stem from feedback received by the Educational Governance Review Advisory Panel.

"All they heard out of that was that there's a strong desire to keep the voice of communities, local control over school division decisions, and so consolidating power in the minister seems to go against that," said Maze.

"Anytime something is rushed through with a sense of urgency, it makes you wonder why, and why no consultation."

He added that teachers are concerned about educational supports in the classroom being diminished due to budget cuts.

"While we want to keep government to their word on trying to keep the classroom as untouched as possible, we know that with the cutbacks that are occurring, that will be very difficult for the divisions to do."

The federation is asking its members and the public to send emails to their MLAs asking them to "put the brakes" on the amendments until there's more consultation.

The teachers' collective agreement is set to expire in August. Negotiations have not yet begun but the government announced in March it aims to cut overall public sector worker compensation by 3.5 per cent.

"That's a target that they're looking for," said Maze.

"We'll begin negotiations soon and look forward to a negotiated settlement at the table."