The Manitoba government is promising to increase educational funding by $100 million for the next school year.
The government says this amounts to about a six per cent increase compared to the previous school year, the highest in recent years.
The money will be divvied up among all school divisions, Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko said.
“Every division will see an increase in funding next year, which will help them engage students and invest in the programs and services that will best meet the needs of local communities,” the minister said in a media release Thursday.
The increased funding will include $62.9 million in operating support, with $20 million used to address what the government describes as “cost pressures,” according to the release.
Of the new funding, $5 million will go to special needs and other existing grants, $8 million is earmarked for capital support payments, there will be a $24-million increase to the property tax offset grant, and independent schools will see a $5 million increase, Ewasko said.
Every school division is expected to receive an increase in operating dollars of at least 2.5 per cent.
Ewasko said the government will spend another $106 million to make one-time funding provided to school divisions last year permanent, including $22 million for a government effort to improve student presence and engagement.
Making the one-time money permanent will help divisions with financial pressures, improve learning and supports, and provide more help for students with special learning needs, Ewasko said.
Ewasko says work continues on the development of a new education funding model after school officials and families criticized the Progressive Conservatives for chronic underfunding for kindergarten to Grade 12 schools.
Manitoba Government Increases Funding to all School Divisions https://t.co/VUic0V47ST pic.twitter.com/Efdi1jAmxJ
— Manitoba Gov News (@MBGovNews) February 2, 2023
Thursday’s announcement comes in a provincial election year, with Manitobans scheduled to go to the polls Oct. 3.
Manitoba’s Opposition NDP panned the announced funding.
“Make no mistake, this is a cut to school funding from the government that brought you Bill 64 and told teachers to pay out of pocket for school supplies,” NDP education critic Nello Altomare said in a written statement.
“We know kids need more support in the classroom, not less. It’s time for a government that puts kids first and helps families.”
The Progressive Conservative government faced a stiff backlash to Bill 64, which would have eliminated all English-language elected school boards and centralized decision-making, and eventually walked back the plan.
–With files from The Canadian Press
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