News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

January 26, 2006

PROVINCE INVESTS $25.6 MILLION MORE FOR MANITOBA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Province Invests $25.6 Million More For Manitoba Public Schools


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Funding for Special Needs, Learning English, Transportation, Sustainable Development, Middle Years Connections: Bjornson

Education, Citizenship and Youth Minister Peter Bjornson today announced a $25.6-million investment in Manitoba public schools including increases for special needs, transportation, English as an additional language and new grants to support teaching related to sustainable development and improving middle-years students' connections to school.

"As a key government priority, we are continuing to build on the strengths of Manitoba's public school system and targeting funding to new and emerging school needs," Bjornson said. "Over the past seven years, we have met our commitment to fund public schools at the rate of economic growth and have invested $155 million in new funding in the public school system, a 20.1-per-cent increase since 1999."

This year, additional investments will assist new Manitobans who are learning English, reach more children and families through early childhood development programs and target increased success of Aboriginal students. Grant administration will be streamlined in some areas by combining programs under the new student services grant and reducing transportation data reporting requirements.

"We are also acting on certain formula changes recommended by the Advisory Committee on the Funding of Schools Program and addressing specific needs such as those experienced by war-affected children entering the school system," Bjornson said.

The 2.8-per-cent increase this year brings total provincial funding to schools to $926 million.

The minister noted that, 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 50 per cent and reduced the residential education support levy by $64 million. Together, the reductions have delivered a total education property tax saving of $1,425 on a $125,000 home.

Funding highlights for 2006-07 include:

  • $7.5 million for a higher number of identified high-need special-needs students;
  • an increase of $1.1 million for instructional support;
  • an increase of $8.1 million in equalization support;
  • $1.7 million more (a 40-per-cent increase) for English as an additional language (formerly English as a second language) to extend eligibility to four years from three including $200,000 for an Intensive Newcomer Support Grant Fund that will assist war-affected children;
  • an increase of $2.5 million for operations and maintenance costs; and
  • an increase of $1 million to implement a new student services grant that combines level-one special-needs funding, students at risk and early-behaviour intervention grants, and introduces a children-in-care component that will better match funding to student needs.

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

ADDITIONAL FUNDING HIGHLIGHTS, 2006-07

The Manitoba government's investment in the public schools system includes:

  • a $100,000-increase for the Building Student Success with Aboriginal Parents program;
  • an increase of $800,000 for counselling and guidance support, adding a further $15 per Kindergarten to Grade 4 pupil as part of a multi-year phase-in plan to reach the same level of funding as that for Grade 5 through Senior 4;
  • an increase of $300,000 in professional development funding;
  • new funding of $600,000 ($10 per grade 5 to 8 student) to improve student connections to school through experiential learning opportunities that will help students apply in-class learning to daily life;
  • an increase of $700,000 for transportation;
  • an increase of $100,000 for early childhood development;
  • new funding of $500,000 to support teaching of principles and practices related to sustainable development;
  • an increase of $225,000 for pilot projects to fund five new community schools;
  • a combination of the environmental assistance and air quality grants under the Capital D grant which will streamline administration and provide $5.6 million to assist school divisions with minor capital repairs; and
  • an eight-per-cent increase to $123.5 million in the provincial contribution to the Teachers' Retirement Allowance Fund to provide the employer's share of retired teachers' pension benefits.