NDP education critic calls on gov’t to prioritize substitute recruitment and retention

Carla Beck, who serves as the Saskatchewan NDP’s education critic, believes now is the time for the Saskatchewan government to prioritize substitute teacher and educational assistant recruitment and retention.

On Monday during an online conference call with media, she said the government can do this by providing funding for cohorting, contracts and sick pay.

“Especially with the numbers of positive tests on the rise as we move into the fall with students in the classroom. It’s so important to us,” explained Beck.

She feels the government has left substitute teachers and substitute EAs vulnerable and exposed with schools back in session.

Beck called it a missed opportunity by Education Minister Gord Wyant after he indicated last week that his government rejected division requests for substitute funding as they felt it was not a priority, just like funding for supplies such as “yoga mats and pencil cases.”

“It was very disrespectful to school divisions and to substitute teachers themselves,” added Beck. “We think the need for cohorting of substitutes is really important like what we’ve seen in other provinces.”

Beck said she’d like to see a pool of substitute teachers, substitute EAs, custodial staff and bus drivers be assigned to a smaller number of schools to be able to have more backup when it comes to job opportunities and sick days for staff.

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