The provincial government today announced a $6.6 million increase in funding for public school divisions. The province will be investing more than $1.3 billion in public school divisions next school year.
For the 2018/ 2019 school year, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart is directing school divisions to limit any increases to their local education property tax to two per cent. As well, Wishart announced a 15 per cent reduction in the existing administration cost caps, effective July 1st. School division administration costs, which include the board of trustees, superintendent's and secretary treasurer's departments have increased by 9 per cent over the past three years.
"It is imperative we reduce administrative costs while protecting frontline services," says Wishart. "This new approach does not unfairly penalize divisions who have already made the effort to streamline administrative costs, as budgets show all divisions were below their respective caps in the past three years, and many spent well below the limit on administration."
The minister announced his intention for a streamlined, single provincial bargaining table for public school teachers from the existing 38 collective bargaining units. The last round of contracts is set to expire June 30. Manitoba is the only province where teacher collective bargaining is conducted exclusively at the local level, negotiated separately between each school board and its local teachers' association.
"We want to put teachers back in the classroom, where they want to be and where students need them most, instead of being at the bargaining table," says Wishart. "We want to give trustees more time to focus on the quality of learning for students and free up resources currently tied up by negotiations."
Meanwhile, Manitoba will phase out the Tax Incentive Grant over the next six years. The grant will be adjusted to ensure school divisions do not receive less than 98 per cent of last year's operating and Tax Incentive Grant support combined.
Education financing will come under further examination in early 2019, when the province launches its review of the kindergarten to Grade 12 education system, the minister says. The process will include public consultation and consider a wide range of issues, such as the quality of education, role of school boards and taxation power.