The provincial government recently announced that it would be giving additional funding to school divisions across Saskatchewan.

The reason given for the funding was that school divisions had seen an increase in the number of substitute teachers needed across the 2022-2023 school year.

Here in the southeast, both the Southeast Cornerstone Public School Division and the Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division received money, coming in at $47,500 and $6,630 respectively.

The CFO for SECPSD Shelley Toth says the announcement was well received by the division.

"We're pleased by the ministry's announcement that we're gonna be receiving $47,500 to help offset the additional sub costs we've had to endure due to the sub costs that we've had to endure as a result of the pandemic due to illness and quarantine leave."

The SECPSD did indeed see higher substitute counts than previous years, with Toth providing the statistics.

"We've certainly seen more than pre-covid years. When we took a look at what we had spent on sub teachers from the beginning of September to the end of February, we were about 10% higher than average for that time period than previous years, so it's certainly something that's warranted."

Substitute teachers weren't the only problem faced by the division, as substitute bus drivers were also in high demand.

"It was a struggle at times to find something for the classrooms, but schools were able to manage and they occasionally did have to provide coverage internally. Where we really did struggle was around bus drivers," said Toth, "We simply didn't have very many on our sub list, so sometimes we did have some bus routes down because we weren't able to find folks to drive the bus."

Overall, Toth says that while it's too early to tell whether substitution levels will normalize by the end of the year, they hope it'll be less in the future.