The Manitoba government will increase funding for public schools by more than $6.6 million for the 2020-21 school year to a record total of $1.33 billion, Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.
Manitoba has the third-highest spending per student in Canada at $14,733, after Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.
“This investment in our public schools demonstrates our government’s commitment to students’ success,” said Goertzen. “This funding is the most ever committed to public schools in Manitoba’s history. Since 2016, funding to elementary and secondary education has grown by nearly $33 million.”
The funding comes in addition to the province’s guarantee to build 20 new schools during the next decade. Two new schools in Winkler and Niverville have been completed and are in use by students. Three new elementary schools in Brandon and Winnipeg are under construction and will open later this year. An additional two new schools in Waverley West are being designed and are scheduled to begin construction before the end of this year, the minister said. In addition, school expansions are happening across the province with openings this week in Neepawa and La Salle.
The cost of these 20 new schools is approximately $500 million, Goertzen said.
The province will also continue to ensure all school divisions receive no less than 98 per cent of the operating funding they received a year earlier.
“Like all levels of government, school divisions need to make choices and carefully prioritize spending decisions,” said Goertzen.
School division administration expenses topped $65 million in 2018-19. To increase transparency, the Department of Education has released an out-of-province travel summary for school divisions. This disclosure of travel expenses is similar to what is in use for Manitoba members of the legislative assembly and cabinet ministers. A list of school divisions' out-of-province travel expenses can be found at www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/finance/sd-opt/index.html.
The minister noted that school divisions currently have an accumulated operating surplus in excess of $98,000,000.
School divisions, as well, raise revenue through local education property taxes. The minister is again requesting that school divisions limit increases to education property taxes to a maximum of two per cent for the 2020-21 school year.
The government looks forward to receiving the final report of the Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education, which has an expected public release at the end of March. The commission is leading a comprehensive and independent review of Manitoba’s entire public elementary and secondary education system.