Safe Schools Plan: New Funding Approved for Additional Cleaning Supplies, Equipment and Staff
Today, the Government of Saskatchewan is announcing $51 million in approved funding for classrooms for emergent, one-time expenses associated with a safe return to school. This funding is from the over $150 million in the COVID contingency fund for education from provincial, federal and school division savings. Of the $51 million approved today, $41 million comes from provincial funding, and $10 million represents the expenditure of the remaining school division savings.
As a part of this new funding, 46 applications have been approved to provide new funding to school divisions, qualified independent schools and historical high schools.
In total, the following funding has been approved:
- $19.1 million for sanitization, includes 191 staff
- $6.0 million for equipment and furniture
- $13.2 million for supports for immunocompromised students, includes 150 teachers and staff
- $9.5 million for additional distance learning capacity, includes 102 teachers and staff
- $4.0 million for technology upgrades
As a result of this new funding, a total of 443 custodial support, teachers and staff are expected to be hired. This is in addition to the more than 200 staff projected to be hired as a result of the increased funding in the 2020-21 Budget.
“In order to ensure our schools are as safe as possible for students and staff, $80 million has been committed for the start of the school year,” Wyant said. “As a result of our combined funding increases, more than 600 new teachers and staff will be funded this school year.”
The Ministry of Education has allocated $10 million for PPE expenses, of which $2.3 million has been spent to date to procure six million masks for school divisions. The ministry will continue working with school divisions to determine PPE needs for the remainder of the school year. The central purchasing of PPE will continue to be done through vendors that were prequalified through a request for qualification process that was completed earlier this summer.
Typically, operating funding for school divisions is confirmed after enrollments are submitted on September 30. In recognition of the exceptional circumstances this year, the Ministry of Education is delaying any consideration for the redistribution of grants once actual enrollments are known until January 29. This enrollment date change will provide school divisions stability regardless of actual enrollments this fall, while minimizing any potential impact on division operating funding.
There is $64 million remaining in the COVID contingency fund for education. The next intake for school division funding applications will be on December 1.