More funding is on the way for school divisions allocated from the Saskatchewan government’s Safe Schools Plan.
$37.5 million has been approved for emergent, one-time expenses to help keep staff and students safe in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes following the $51 million that was announced back in September.
51 applications were approved by the government for the new funding which included school divisions, qualified independent schools and historical high schools.
“This will provide divisions with the resources necessary to keep our schools safe,” said Minister of Education Dustin Duncan in a statement on Thursday. “This funding will provide for additional cleaning supplies, supports for online learning and the more than 400 staff that have been hired through the first phase of funding.”
The funding is drawn from the over $150 million available in the COVID-19 contingency fund available for education.
The approved funding will help pay for:
• $5.2 million for sanitization (includes 107 additional staff);
• $7.2 million for equipment and furniture, including audio amplification systems to help students hear when their teachers are wearing masks;
• $21.0 million for remote learning (includes 279 teachers and staff, which is in addition to the 252 staff approved in September);
• $2.6 million for technology upgrades, including the purchase of additional computers; and
• $1.5 million for other costs including additional supervision requirements, mental health and community liaison supports and positions for contact tracing.
“In order to maintain funding stability for the education sector, school division operating grants will not be adjusted based on actual enrolments for the 2020-21 school year,” reads a release by the government. “This means that school divisions and independent schools will continue to receive funding based on their projected enrolments and will not see a decrease to their funding.”
$26 million remains in the COVID contingency fund for education. The next intake for school division funding applications will be on March 1, 2021.