Province keeps public schools funding steady despite tough times

The following is a press release from the Manitoba Teachers’ Society. It is in regards to the public schools funding announcement of January 30, 2014.

The additional $24.4 million for public schools announced today for 2014 – 2015 is welcome news for teachers, says Paul Olson, president of The Manitoba Teachers’ Society. “Stable funding is the lifeblood for schools, students and classrooms. This fall, we’ll enter the 15th straight year the provincial government has kept its commitment to fund Manitoba’s public schools at or above the rate of economic growth.”

“We’re also pleased to see more funds being directed to equalization for school divisions,” he says. “It helps address inequities in a funding model that relies heavily on locally levied property taxes.”

Olson says divisions can also take advantage of initiatives in the areas of quality education, career development and breakfast and lunch programs. The government has also announced changes to how grant funding is monitored, and now requires divisions to submit plans in order to access funding in these areas. “We see this as a good balance between provincial oversight and divisional flexibility when it comes to dispersing funds.”

He says it’s now up to divisions to draft budgets that ensure students get excellent programming and teachers get the resources they need. “Teachers are front line workers in dealing with the effects of poverty and other social determinants on children’s health and ability to learn. Adequate school funding is essential to helping our most vulnerable students.”

School divisions across the province have until mid-March to finalize their budgets.