Funding for the Manitoba school system will increase by $120 million in the upcoming school year, including $43 million increase in annual funding and additional one-time funding of $77 million to address incremental wage costs and other pressures, Education Minister Wayne Ewasko announced today.

“Manitoba has the second-highest spending per student in Canada after New Brunswick at $15,412 and we are maintaining this position at the national level with a further investment of $120 million this year,” said Ewasko. “School divisions have told us that COVID-19, inflation and other costs have increased financial pressures, and this has been taken into consideration in this year’s public school funding. These increases will ensure that school divisions have the resources they need to help students succeed.”

The annual funding includes an increase of $18 million for public schools, $2.2 million for independent schools and a $23.2 million increase to the Property Tax Offset Grant. To reduce the burden from ratepayers, education property taxes will remain frozen and the increase to the Property Tax Offset Grant is equivalent to two per cent.

“School divisions continue to receive the full value of the education property taxes collected as the rebates to Manitobans are funded from general provincial revenues,” said Ewasko. “The increase in the Property Tax Offset Grant ensures that school divisions do not lose out on revenue that they would have raised by increasing property taxes.”

The $77 million in one-time funding next year is based on feedback from school divisions on their anticipated incremental costs over and above the regular annual increases in funding.

While these financial pressures faced by school divisions are ongoing, only one-time funding has been announced this year as a new education funding model is being developed in consultation with school divisions for the 2023-24 school year. The new funding model, a recommendation of the Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education and supported by key sector stakeholders, will ensure the creation of a fair and sustainable model that provides equitable funding so all students succeed regardless of their location, their background or their individual circumstances.

Earlier this year, the Manitoba government provided an additional $63 million to schools across the province to address COVID-19 needs. The minister noted the government will continue to assess needs related to the pandemic response and will provide additional safe schools funding as required.

“Manitoba is committed to investing in education with the funding adjusted based on enrollment increases and accounting for COVID-19 related impacts,” said Ewasko. “We will continue to consult with school divisions, school staff, parents and students to hear what is working and what we need to do to support them as we move forward to continuously improve and strengthen the education system.”

The minister noted today’s announcement builds on other recent investments to strengthen Manitoba’s education system with a focus on continuous improvement including:

-additional one-time funding of $80 million for incremental operating costs in public school divisions in 2021-22;

-investments in a new pilot program that will support engagement with elders and knowledge keepers in schools to promote the inclusion of First Nations, Métis and Inuit histories, culture, traditional values, contemporary lifestyles and traditional knowledge in the provincial curricula;

-a total investment of $260 million in capital funding to build new schools and renovate others; and

-more than $1 million in additional funding for mental health supports including:

-mental health supports for the education workforce,

-the French translation of materials,

-peer-programming training for educators, and

-further professional development for educators and leaders that is trauma-informed and culturally relevant to address the effects of long-term trauma caused by the pandemic.