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NDP seek more COVID relief funding for school boards

By Randy Thoms Mar 27, 2023 | 3:12 PM

The NDP is calling on the provincial government to reimburse school boards for expenses related to the pandemic.

They say some school boards are poised to lay off staff to balance their budgets.

Education critic Chandra Pasma says they aren’t getting help in the recent provincial budget.

“There is no increase to the operational funds for education despite the fact that we have the significant shortfall that’s been identified by the FAO,” says Pasma.

Pasma notes any increase identified in education spending is related to the rollout of the $10-a-day daycare program signed with the federal government.

She says the government is now spending less on education than it did five years ago.

“The government is spending $2.5 billion less on education this year than they would have if funding had just kept pace with inflation. Since 2018, that’s more than $800 less per student.”

A recent Financial Accountability Office report noted that government spending during the 2022-23 fiscal year was down by $432 million.

It also noted that $600 million in COVID response funds were also unspent.

The FAO also reported that within six years there would be a $6 billion gap based on the government’s current funding commitments.

“We’re seeing an immense need among our children, an incredible need for more supports, more teachers, smaller class sizes, educational assistance to support our kids, more mental health supports in the classroom. Instead, school boards are going to be forced to implement cuts this year.”


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