This September, much like last year, the return to the classroom is filled with uncertainty thanks to a lack of planning or action by this government.
The government has failed schools, in St. James and across the province, since taking office. They removed the cap on K-3 class sizes, making it harder for kids to get the attention they need. When the pandemic hit, health experts called for physical distancing in schools, but this was impossible due to the government’s lack of investment and failure to hire more teachers to keep class sizes small.
The government has cut education funding below the rate of inflation and enrollment. They sat on millions of dollars of federal pandemic funding for schools. And this summer, instead of making classrooms safe for September, they’ve been focused on their own internal conflict and wasting money to promote Bill 64.
My NDP colleagues and I have been talking to Manitobans about what our schools need. While the government was silent, we put forward a five-point plan to protect our kids. We called on the province to upgrade ventilation systems in every school, set up in-school vaccine clinics that make it easier for families and staff to get vaccinated, create smaller class sizes by hiring more teachers, EAs and other support staff, increase mental health supports for kids and staff, and implement paid sick leave so families can afford to stay home when their kids are sick. St. James families deserve a government that does more for our schools, not less.
Contact me anytime with questions or concerns at 204.792.2055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.