The Manitoba government is maintaining a balanced approach to providing students a quality education while creating efficiency and controlling costs within the public education system, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today. The province will invest $1.323 billion in public school divisions for the 2018-19 school year, an increase of $6.6 million.
“We continue to provide significant funding to give students the best education possible while we carefully steer Manitoba back onto a responsible fiscal track,” said Wishart. “When school divisions create their budgets for the year ahead, we expect them to manage their expenditures accordingly. This means making decisions that best suit students’ needs, and consider the impact on local ratepayers and Manitoba taxpayers.”
The minister signalled the intention to move to a streamlined, single provincial bargaining table for public school teachers from the existing 38 collective bargaining units. The last round of contracts is set to expire June 30. Manitoba is the only province where teacher collective bargaining is conducted exclusively at the local level, negotiated separately between each school board and its local teachers’ association.
“We want to put teachers back in the classroom, where they want to be and where students need them most, instead of being at the bargaining table,” said Wishart. “We want to give trustees more time to focus on the quality of learning for students and free up resources currently tied up by negotiations.”
The province will hold a consultation process with affected stakeholders to shape the transition to a more efficient system.
For the 2018-19 school year, the minister directed school divisions to limit any increases to their local education property tax to two per cent. Wishart pointed out The Public Services Sustainability Act wage freeze would alleviate some expenditure pressure on divisions.
As well, Wishart announced a 15 per cent reduction to the existing administration cost caps, effective July 1. School division administration costs, which include the board of trustees, superintendent’s and secretary treasurer’s departments, have increased by $5.6 million or nine per cent in the past three years.
“It is imperative we reduce administrative costs while protecting front line services,” said the minister. “This new approach does not unfairly penalize divisions who have already made the effort to streamline administrative costs, as budgets show all divisions were below their respective caps in the past three years, and many spent well below the limit on administration.”
Manitoba will phase out the Tax Incentive Grant (TIG) over the next six years. The grant will be adjusted to ensure school divisions do not receive less than 98 per cent of last year’s operating and TIG support combined. TIG was a voluntary program that ended in 2011, intended to assist school divisions that held the line on taxes.
Intensive Newcomers Support Contingency funding will increase by $40,000 to help divisions with new arrivals of refugees and other high-needs English as an additional language students.
Education financing will come under further examination in early 2019, when the province launches its review of the kindergarten to Grade 12 education system, the minister added. The process will include public consultation and consider a wide range of issues, such as the quality of education, role of school boards and taxation power.
K-12 Funding For Schools:
- The Manitoba Government will provide $1.323 billion to public schools in the 2018/19 school year, a $6.6 million year over year increase. This is a 0.5% increase.
- Intensive Newcomers Support Contingency funding has increased from $60,000 to $100,000 to assist divisions with new arrivals of refugees or other high needs EAL students.
- Manitoba will phase out the Tax Incentive Grant (TIG) over the next six years. The grant will be adjusted to ensure school divisions do not receive less than 98 per cent of last year’s operating and TIG support combined. TIG was a voluntary program that ended in 2011, intended to assist school divisions who held the line on taxes.
- Our government announced its intention to move from 38 local collective agreements to one provincial agreement. Current agreements expire on June 30, 2018.
- Provincial bargaining puts teacher resources back on the front lines and in the classroom instead of sitting around a bargaining table.
- Currently, MTS negotiates with 38 separate school boards – 38 separate negotiations that for the past 4 years have all ended with every division having identical teacher salary increases.
- Manitoba is the only province that has not moved to some form of provincial bargaining.
- We will consult with stakeholders and work towards a streamlined approach that is in the best interest of teachers, students and taxpayers.
Tone at the Top – Administrative Cap:
- Administrative costs for schools divisions have increased 9.0% to $68.4 million in just 3 years. We are instating a mandate to reduce administration expenses by 15% in the coming year, generating $2.1 million in savings for school boards.
- Manitoba Education & Training has the authority to provide this mandate through regulation.
- This further request will not impact those divisions who are already below the provincially regulated cap on administration expenses.
- We applaud those divisions who are working hard to responsibly manage their administration budgets.
Local Education Property Tax Expectations:
- The Minister is expecting school divisions to hold the line on spending and limit increases to their local education property tax to 2% for the 2018/19 school year.
- Manitoba is the only province that permits school boards to set and collect taxes on property.
- Bill 28, the Public Services Sustainability Act, will mitigate the need to raise taxes as salary increases for teachers are to be frozen in the 2018/19 school year.
- Our government will launch a Kindergarten to Grade 12 review of the education system in early 2019, which will include widespread consultations across Manitoba.
- The review will focus on improving student outcomes as well as financial management, governance, efficiency and effectiveness.