The Saskatchewan 2021-22 government budget includes $ 3.75 billion for education that will be funded in part through tax increases for residents, businesses and resources.
Finance Minister Donna Harpauer presented the budget on Tuesday. It includes an increase of $ 391.3 million or 11.6 percent for education from last year’s budget. Much of the increase is due to pensions, the province said.
The budget prioritizes keeping schools open as the province continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, while also relying on school construction projects to stimulate the economy.
“We are pleased to once again be raising education funding to historic levels, allowing us to protect our classrooms, build school infrastructure and increase childcare capacity for Saskatchewan,” Education Minister Dustin Duncan said in a statement. Press conference.
“We remain committed to protecting our school communities as they seek to address the needs of students as we move toward the 2021-22 school year.”
Funding includes $ 100.9 million to build 16 schools and renovate five existing schools across the province, with another $ 10 million reserved for displaced classes.
The budget also includes $ 190 million for education capital, but cuts $ 8 million for capital maintenance in kindergarten in 12th grade schools and advanced education.
Keeping classes open
Saskatchewan’s 27 school sectors will see a $ 19.2 million increase in operating funds over the past year, including a two percent increase for staff as part of the teachers’ collective agreement.
Pandemic supports previously announced counterfeiting classes. They include $ 20.7 million for the 2021-22 school year so divisions can get more staff, IT equipment, PPE and cleaning equipment.
High schools will receive $ 60 million combined over the next two years to manage pandemic-related costs.
Increase in property taxes
The Harpauer 2021-22 budget proposes an increase in the education wealth tax (EPT) to increase the provincial revenue available for pre-K education in grade 12.
Rates have remained unchanged since 2017.
The budget proposes a total increase of 0.85 at the EPT factory rate, resulting in a slight increase for residential, commercial / industrial and resource properties and a decrease in the level of value of agricultural land.
The budget shows that the government is projecting to raise $ 12 million in growth revenue. The average homeowner will pay an additional $ 18 a year.
Post-secondary schools will receive $ 28.4 million more than last year’s budget to help with construction projects and student assistance.
That includes an increase in the Saskatchewan Scholarship Advantage, providing qualified students $ 250 more per year.
The government also plans to launch a student loan forgiveness program for veterinarians and veterinary technologists working in rural and remote communities.
Opposition calls budget ‘uninspiring, ordinary’
NDP leader Ryan Meili said the 2021-22 budget is not going enough to address the pandemic.
He called it a “non-inspiring, ordinary budget that does not fit into today’s challenges” with “nothing serious” allocated to education.
“This will constitute cuts and tough decisions for school boards,” Meili said.
“[School boards] are dealing with overcrowded, complex classes for quite some time. Instead of helping to address what this government has said they will not keep up with the needs of the students and this is a real failure when trying to build a better future for this province. “
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