The Manitoba Government continues it’s streamline crusade, announcing $1.3 billion dollars in public education funding for the 2018-19 school year.
That’s an increase of $6.6-million from the previous school year.
Education Minister Ian Wishart says it’s a balanced approach to give students a quality education, while improving efficiency and controlling costs.
He also announced the government’s intention of having one bargaining table, for public school teachers, as opposed to 38 collective bargaining units.
“This is inefficient,” declared Wishart at a news conference. “It takes our teachers and trustees time as they sit around the bargaining table. We want to free up teachers’ time, so instead of negotiating they can be in the classroom and focus on the children’s education.”
The current set of contracts expire June 30.
Manitoba is the only province where teacher collective bargaining is negotiated separately between each school board and its local teachers’ association.
The province will start a consultation process, of possibly moving to a more efficient system, with affected stakeholders.
T-I-C, Reducing Costs
The province will phase out the Tax Incentive Grant over the next 6 years, and it will be adjusted to ensure school divisions don’t receive less than 98 percent of last year’s operating and grant support combined.
The Tax Incentive Grant was a voluntary program intended to assist school divisions that held the line on taxes.
Also, Education Minister Ian Wishart wants school divisions to limit any increases to their local education property tax to two per cent for the next school year.
“We believe this limit on education property tax is achievable , in light of Bill 28 (the Public Services Sustainability Act) wage freeze which comes into effect for all public school teachers as of July 1,” Wishart said. “This will ease some of the financial pressure on divisions.
He adds the existing administration cost caps will be reduced 15 per cent, effective July 1.
Administration costs, which include the board of trustees, superintendent’s and secretary treasurer’s departments, have increased by 9 per cent, or $5.6 million, in the past 3 years.
The Progressive Conservative government will further look at education funding in early 2019, when its review of the Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system is underway.
This will include public consultation and will take quality of education, role of school boards, taxation power, among other issues, into consideration.