WINNIPEG — The provincial government is increasing funding for public schools to the tune of $20.8 million.
Education Minister Cliff Cullen announced Friday the 1.56 percent increase will be for the 2021-22 school year, totalling $1.35 billion.
“Our education system is one of the best-funded in Canada, and parents need to know that our government will continue to support their children’s futures,” Cullen said.
The funding includes $6.7 million to base funding for public schools, and an additional $5.5 million for special needs funding for school divisions, along with other grants.
Cullen says the funding is a record investment in education by the province.
Cullen added school divisions will freeze their education property taxes and the province will provide a property tax offset grant equivalent to a two percent property tax increase or $22.8 million.
The Manitoba Teachers’ Society says the funding falls short of the rate of inflation for the fifth straight year.
“The government boasts that this is the most funding public education has ever received, but that’s only half the story,” said MTS president James Bedford.
“What is missing from this narrative is the fact that this funding is not enough to meet the increasing needs of Manitoba’s K-12 student population.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the important role of public education in our society. It has also highlighted the significant inequities in the system,” Bedford said. “With everything that has happened in the past year, the government’s continued refusal to invest in public education is incomprehensible.”
Bedford applauded the province’s increase to special needs funding and says the society is looking forward to more details on how those funds will be used in the classroom.
A recent Viewpoints Research poll commissioned by MTS found 64 percent of Manitobans felt the province should spend more on education.