Saskatoon Catholic schools to cut 19 teacher positions, introduce a lunch-hour fee

Following a round of cuts by the city’s public school division, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) has announced plans to eliminate teaching positions.

The division’s board approved the 2022-23 budget during a meeting on Monday — GSCS is projecting a $3 million shortfall to maintain the “status quo.”

The budget will see 19 full-time teaching positions cut, according to GSCS.

The school division said a planned increase of 400 students and “inflationary pressures” are making a balanced budget difficult.

“For example the savings in electricity for the years-long retrofit to energy efficient LED lighting barely covers the increase in electricity costs. It does not save money to be spent in other areas as anticipated,” GSCS said as part of a series of tweets outlining the budget pressures.

There will also be an annual $70 fee for lunch hour supervision for students who remain at school for lunch.

Half-time kindergarten students will pay $35 annually. Fees will be capped at $140 per family.

GSCS said there will be exemptions for families unable to pay and that the fees will be eligible for a federal childcare tax deduction.

In March, the province announced an increase in operating funding for school divisions of about $29.4 million — or 1.5 per cent new funding compared to the year prior.

“The net increase in projected funding for (GSCS) is $3.85 million, most of which will go to provincially negotiated teacher salary increases,” the division said.

According to GSCS, the division will use $1.3 million of restricted reserves for short-term expenses to help balance the budget.

Last week, Saskatoon Public Schools announced it would cut 12 full-time elementary teaching positions and seven full-time secondary school teaching positions.

The public division also introduced an annual lunch-hour fee — $100 fee per child up to a maximum of $200 per family.

Moe spoke to reporters at the city’s airport on Friday following a trip to the US to promote the province.

He said any potential top-up funding will be considered after all school divisions have submitted their budgets.

“We would ask school divisions to submit their plans to the minister, he’ll look at those between now and June 30 when they are to be submitted by,” Moe said.

“Ultimately we would also ask them to look at using all of the resources they have, including their reserves, if they’re having challenges this particular year,” he said.

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