News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

January 29, 2008

PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING INCREASES 5.6 PERCENT

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$53.5 Million Largest Increase in Over 25 Years; New Grant Targets Property Taxes

The Manitoba government will invest an additional $53.5 million into public schools this year, the largest increase in over 25 years, and will introduce a new grant to enable school divisions to hold the line on property taxes, Education, Citizenship and Youth Minister Peter Bjornson announced today.

“Over the past year, Manitoba was the only province to see a decline in property taxes,” said Bjornson.  “This year’s unprecedented investment brings public school funding to more than $1 billion while providing support to school divisions and taxpayers.”

Today’s 5.6 per cent increase announcement includes a new $16-million tax incentive grant that will enable school divisions not to increase property taxes.  According to Statistics Canada, Manitoba was the only province in Canada where residents paid less in property tax between October 2006 and October 2007.

The Manitoba government has also committed to work with school divisions to fund 80 per cent of the total cost of public education through general revenues and this budget represents another significant step toward that goal, Bjornson said.

“In each of the last nine years, our government has met or exceeded our commitment to fund public schools at the rate of economic growth, providing a total of $238 million in new funding.  Since 1999, this government has increased funding to public schools by 31 per cent and this budget provides increased support for all school divisions.”

This year, $2.1 million has been committed to support the implementation of physical education in grades 11 and 12, which was recommended by the all-party Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures Task Force.  Students will be encouraged to take greater ownership of their own physical fitness and find activities suited to their interests and abilities.

To support Manitoba’s successful immigration strategy, which has seen a record number of newcomers enter Manitoba, an additional $1.5 million will be invested in English as an additional language programming as well as to support war-affected students.

An additional $500,000 will be invested to support continued improvement to Aboriginal academic achievement through initiatives such as student mentorship and training, as well as elders in schools programs.

For the first time, the department will support education of students in youth detention centres.  This initiative will receive $250,000 as part of this year’s funding announcement.

Today’s announcement brings to 74.5 per cent the Manitoba government’s funding of projected total education costs including 100 per cent of school capital construction expenditures, the employer portion of teacher pensions and education property tax credits.

Additional funding increases include:
  • $18.2 million for equalization to support school divisions, particularly those with a low tax base;
  • $5.8 million for Level 2 and 3 special-needs funding including a rate increase and adjustments for a higher number of special-needs students;
  • $5.1 million for instructional support such as classroom supplies;
  • $2 million to ensure that all schools have a positive funding formula increase, despite declining enrolment;
  • $1.1 million for school building operating costs;
  • $1.6 million for transportation grants;
  • $800,000 for kindergarten to Grade 12 information technology support;
  • $380,000 for community schools;
  • $350,000 for a new bursary for rural and northern school divisions will allow current teachers or local graduates to obtain clinician certification in hard-to-fill jobs such as speech-language pathology, psychology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and other specialty areas;
  • $100,000 for technical vocational equipment upgrades.

Since 1999, the province has increased the education property tax credit to $525, increased the seniors’ tax credit to $800, reduced the education property tax on farmland by 65 per cent and eliminated the residential education support levy a year earlier than promised, resulting in a $100 million benefit to residential taxpayers.  With these measures, Manitobans will save $230 million annually in education property taxes.

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