The last time we referenced the changing happenings in Saskatchewan it was in the entry Updating the Saskatchewan Situation, which was when the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Corporation had released some or all of its course list.  The latest news – and controversy – is focused around the funding of the new Crown corporation.

The first article that we noticed was:


Sask. Minister of Education responds to criticism over remote learning financials

  • Brady Lang
  • CTV News Yorkton Video Journalist
  • Published 

One day following criticisms of the financials, the need, and the validity of the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Centre (Sask. DLC), Minister of Education Dustin Duncan responded.

Duncan did not answer CTV News’ questions Wednesday but spoke following session Thursday.

Tuesday, Duncan claimed the government could save public school divisions in the province $13 million with the new Crown corporation.

Wednesday, both the STF and the Prairie Valley School Division (PVSD) didn’t see how it was possible, with PVSD claiming it actually had a $600,000 clawback on its budget from this school year due to the Sask. DLC.

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The second article that was published about a week later included:

Saskatchewan / News

School divisions concerned about up-front fees to distance learning Crown

Prairie Valley School Division and Chinook School Division say the quoted tuition fees are going to put big pressure on their budgets this year.

Two of Saskatchewan’s rural school divisions are questioning how course fees are being calculated for the newly-established distance education Crown corporation, amid concerns that costs may impact already-strained incoming budgets.

Prairie Valley School Division has been quoted $600,000 in fees to the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Centre, which is set to take over online learning delivery for most school divisions in the fall.

Board chair Janet Kotylak said the cost is bafflingly large, and that the province is asking the division to pay for more courses than it anticipates needing.

“It’s a big amount, right off the top of our funding, and it’s impacting us substantially,” she said.

The Crown is being funded by two revenue streams, Education Minister Dustin Duncan confirmed last week. The provincial government is delivering a $23 million grant, and school divisions are to deliver the remainder via $500 per-class per-student fee.

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The crux of the issue is that the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Corporation is funded in two ways.  The first is through a block grant, which appears to have come from clawbacks that the provincial Government has made to various school districts.  The second is three a per-class per-student fee of $500, which by itself is fairly standard by Canadian standards.  The easiest comparison is the province of Ontario, where our last State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada report indicated that “the fee for the 2021-22 school year was $586 per credit course.”  However, the block grant is a bit different.  In most jurisdictions it is usually one or the other – provincial programs are often funded through a block grant OR they are funded through course enrollment fees.

I suspect it will be a full year of operation before we get a full sense of how the funding will operate in practice, but as we learn more we’ll be sure to update.

Questions Around Funding the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Corporation

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