After the Hanover School Board was forced to cut $2.7 million from the 2023-24 budget, Steinbach’s MLA agreed to a meeting to hear details of the financial challenges.
Board Chair Ron Falk, Superintendent Shelley Amos, and Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Heide recently met with Kelvin Goertzen as well as La Verendrye MLA Dennis Smook, Dawson Trail MLA Bob Lagasse, and Springfield-Ritchot MLA Ron Schuler.
“The purpose of the meeting was just to appraise our local MLAs of the situation we find ourselves in,” says Falk.
At this meeting, MLAs received a presentation like the one presented last month to the public.
“We added a little bit more information to them for that, but essentially that was what we reviewed with them,” Falk says. “They had a number of good questions for clarification and yeah, it was a good dialogue, that's for sure.”
The Hanover School Board will now send a letter to the education minister to request a similar meeting.
“Just so that he has a fuller understanding of exactly where we find ourselves,” Falk explains.
Hanover trustees had to cut $2.7 million from the 2023-24 budget. Falk says there are other school divisions in a similar situation.
He says the increased student enrollment does not match the increase in provincial funding. The other part of the problem, Falk notes, is that the division is not able to raise enough local taxes due to provincial mandate.
“In fact, the last three years including this budget year we're talking about now, the taxes are going down,” he says. “So, we have the equivalent of about a 10% tax decrease over the last three years. We have increased costs and we have an increased student population. So, it doesn't make for a very good picture. We just want to make sure that that the elected officials in the province are aware of exactly what that means for us.”