WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government has announced an increase in education funding for the 2020-21 school year, but critics say it doesn’t go far enough.
The Pallister government is boosting funding to public elementary and high schools by half a percentage point, as well as a two percent cap on school property tax for the third year in a row. The increase amounts to $6.6 billion in education spending.
“Like all levels of government, school divisions need to make choices and carefully prioritize spending decisions,” said Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen.
“Clearly we are asking school divisions to live within the means of taxpayers and live within the means of the ability for Manitobans to pay.”
NDP opposition member Matt Wiebe said the minor funding increase is incredibly frustrating.
“Once again we’ve seen a de facto cut to the classrooms in Manitoba.”
The Manitoba Teachers’ Society said the increase fails to keep pace with inflation and student enrollment.
“No matter how you look at it, a .5% ‘increase’ doesn’t even play catch up to roughly 2% inflation and a 1% increase in student enrollment,” said MTS president James Bedford.
“Teachers face increases in enrollment and more diverse student needs than ever. This announcement is not robust enough to address these issues.”
Also on Thursday, the province announced plans to cut public sector managerial positions by 15 percent.
— With files from The Canadian Press