Sask. Rivers board sees positives and challenges in staffing

The Sask Rivers Education Centre/ Daily Herald File Photo

The Saskatchewan Rivers School is happy with where it sits in terms of staffing. The division’s board saw the numbers in their yearly accountability report presented by Superintendent of Schools Neil Finch at their regular meeting on Monday, August 31.

During the 2019-2020 school year there were over 535 full-time equivalent teachers in the division with 32 principals and 25 vice principals. There were 16 male and 16 female principals and 12 female. There were over 29 full-time equivalent employees working out of the Education Centre.

The total budget for teachers and administration was $48.8 million. The largest percentage of money spent on salary goes to teachers at 84 percent of the total.

The division saw a modest turnover of 4.7 percent including early resignations and retirements. There will be a .5 full-time equivalent increase in the 2020-2021 school year. Saskatchewan Rivers also has a First and Second Year Program where newer teachers meet formally throughout the year. There are also formal classroom visit from the superintendent in charge, this year it has been assigned to Cory Trann.

There is also an educational bursary offered to a maximum of $85,000 in the division. This year there were 77 applicants in two intakes and they paid out a total that was over budget but the numbers of applicants are hard to predict.

Teacher recruitment in ongoing and a year-long focus but is focused on recruitment fairs at the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan in January and February and other fairs if necessary.

The substitute list in the division is around 200 teachers made up mostly of teachers but also includes 80 superannuated (retired) teachers. They also interview for substitutes during the year and added 30 to the list in the fall. Finch told the board that there will be more stress on the subs list due to COVID-19 but administration is trying to be ready.

The division’s principal and vice principal pool has 16 people in the vice principal pool and 14 in the principal pool entering the new school year. There are 10 females and six males in the vice principal pool and an even split of eight males and eight females in the principal pool. There were four in the pools recruited from out of the division.

In 2019-2020 there were over 400 employees in the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) pool with EA (Educational Associates) making up the largest number with over 256. There is also 24 employees through separate funding arrangements. There are also 24 Out-of-Scope personnel.

The total non-teacher employee salaries is $18.9 million. This includes accounting and payroll, computer technicians, bus drivers, caretakers, educational associates, language associates, library staff, maintenance staff, mechanics, mentors, KidsFirst project coordinators, social workers and secretaries.

The substitute list for educational associates has steadily risen from 109 in June, 2015 to 156 in June, 2020.

The total staff in the divisions numbers 1, 657 of staff shows that 75 percent and 24 percent male with all staff in all areas including teachers, CUPE and staff. The age categories show that there are 25 percent in the 50 to 59 category, 22 percent in the 40 to 49 category, 21 percent in the 30 to 39 category, 16 percent in the 60 to 69 category, 14 percent in the 17 to 29 category, three percent in 70 to 79 age category and one person in the 80 to 89 category.

The division currently has 176 educators in the First Nations-Métis-Indigenous category which is consistent with recent years.

The division is having strong recruitment according to the conclusion as they work with multiple universities. This year the division has 31 interns. They are also being aggressive in recruitment for French Immersion positions and are having success in their Cree Language recruitment with possible employees reaching out to Finch to express interest.

The report anticipates that the provincial budget will be tight but administration tries to keep cuts away from the classroom directly. Another challenge anticipated is having adequate substitute teachers and CUPE employees available. They also anticipate challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic but there has been consistent division-wide communication throughout.

The recommendation of the report was to maintain current direction which ensures that staff remains at the best level to serve students.

During his report Finch explained to the board that the staff have been professionals through the entire pandemic and handled the situation extremely well. He explained that they have dealt with every change well as a team and as people throughout the whole system.