The NDP opposition is calling on the provincial government to take the blame for school lunchroom fees. Several school boards plan to implement them for fall to cover government funding shortfalls.
The Premier has objected to the added cost for parents but the NDP said it’s of his own doing.
“Scott Moe has the audacity to jet-set his way to New York during an affordability crisis and stand in an airport and blame school boards for not balancing their books,” NDP MLA Matt Love said.
Regina Catholic Schools are the latest to impose a lunchroom fee for fall. It will be $ 70 for the year. Saskatoon’s two school boards also plan to implement varying fees.
“Because of the fact that we are trying to balance our budget with the funds that we’ve been given by the ministry, we’ve had to look at areas that we normally would not look at,” chair, Regina Catholic Schools Vicky Bonnell said.
Two weeks ago, the premier suggested such fees are unnecessary.
“They most certainly should be looking at using some of the reserves that have been growing in the last few years as opposed to sending out invoices to parents,” Premier Scott Moe said.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association said reserves have designated purposes such as fleet renewal and are not there to cover operating shortfalls.
“And we welcome the opportunity and hope to have further conversation with the government about reserves and really helping to explain and paint a picture of why they are where they are and define exactly what they are,” president of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, Shaun Davidson said.
Regina Public Schools will pass its budget next week, one day before the government’s June 30th deadline. The NDP said a $ 50 million top-up is required for school boards. The government will decide if more money is possible once all the budgets are submitted.