01/05/2012 01:03 EST | Updated 03/06/2012 05:12 EST

NDP says Saskatchewan plan to fund independent schools will erode education

REGINA - Saskatchewan New Democrats say the government's plan to partly fund independent schools will erode education.

NDP education critic Trent Wotherspoon says the decision will divert money from the public system.

The province said last month that independent schools run by private groups or organizations can get half of per-student average provincial funding.

Wotherspoon argues that will lead to a piecemeal system which will hurt students and schools.

Education Minister Donna Harpauer (HAR'-power) says no money will be diverted from public schools.

She notes independent schools will have to follow the provincial curriculum and take part in student assessments to get the funding.