News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

January 29, 2007

PROVINCE INCREASES PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING 3.3 PER CENT

– – –
Increase Consistent with Economic Growth, Exceeds Inflation Levels: Bjornson

Education, Citizenship and Youth Minister Peter Bjornson today announced that Manitoba’s strong economic growth is being reinvested into public schools with a funding increase of 3.3 per cent representing a $30.3 million investment into special needs, declining enrolment support, equalization, transportation, English as an additional language, counselling and guidance support, and building operational and minor capital costs.
 
“Education for children and youth is a key priority of our government.  We strongly believe this significant level of funding to the public school system is a substantial investment in Manitoba’s future,” Bjornson said.  “This is the largest increase in funding for public schools in 17 years and is significantly above Manitoba’s 1.6 per cent inflation rate. We have invested $185 million in new funding, a 24 per cent increase since 1999.”
 
For the eighth consecutive year, the provincial government has met or exceeded its commitment to fund public schools at the rate of economic growth.  The 3.3 per cent increase this year brings total provincial funding to schools to $956 million.
 
All school divisions will see an increase of at least two per cent in funding, in spite of reductions in enrolment in approximately three-quarters of divisions. This will assist school divisions to continue providing vital educational services while facing ongoing challenges with declining enrolment.
 
This year, an $8-million investment will be made for a higher number of identified high-need special-needs students.  Additional investments are being made to assist the many children in the province’s public schools who are new to Manitoba and learning English.  About $255,000 will be dedicated to intensive newcomer support.
 
An additional $100,000 will support Aboriginal academic achievement to continue improving the success of Aboriginal students through enhancement and expansion of the Building Student Success with Aboriginal Parents program and more funding has been dedicated to community schools.
 
“To ensure children get the help they need to deal with problems at school, an increase of $1.3 million has been set aside for counselling and guidance support,” Bjornson said.  “We are meeting our commitment to fund these services at the same rate for students in all grades.”
 
An increase of $1.3 million in professional development funding will assist with meeting the commitment of improving information and communication technology literacy for all kindergarten to
Grade 8 students.
                                                                             
The province funds approximately 70 per cent of total education costs including 100 per cent of school capital construction and renovation expenditures, 100 per cent of the employer portion of teacher pensions and 100 per cent of the education property tax credits.
 
The minister noted that school division surpluses continue to rise and, since 1999, surpluses have increased 121 per cent provincewide totalling $86 million.
 
While following through on its commitment to fund education at the rate of economic growth, the provincial government has also cut taxes significantly.
 
Since 1999, the province has increased the education property tax credit to $400, increased the seniors’ tax credit to $800, reduced the education property tax on farmland by 60 per cent and completely eliminated the residential education support levy a year earlier than promised, a $100 million benefit to residential taxpayers.
 
“All told, we have reduced education property taxes by $181 million since 1999,” said Bjornson.
 
Funding highlights targeted to key educational and taxpayer priorities for 2006-07 include:
·         an increase of $8 million for Level 2 and 3 special needs,
·         an increase of $8.3 million in equalization,
·         an increase of $4 million for declining enrolment support,
·         an increase of $700,000 for curricular materials,
·         an increase of $1.3 million for counselling and guidance support,
·         an increase of $1.1 million for building operational and minor capital costs,
·         an increase of $1.3 million in professional development,
·         an increase of $800,000 in transportation funding,
·         an increase of $200,000 for English as an additional language,
·         an additional $100,000 for Aboriginal academic achievement,
·         an additional $127,000 for early childhood development, and
·         an additional $2.3 million in support to targeted school division projects. 
 
In addition to funding public schools, the government will be providing an additional $9.5 million or 7.7 per cent to the Teachers' Retirement Allowance Fund (TRAF) for 2007-08. This will bring the government’s annual contribution to teacher pensions to $133 million. 
 
                                                                                      - 30 -