The Manitoba Government will be investing an additional $104.2 million in funding for public schools in the upcoming school year. That works out to an increase of 3.4 percent for 2024/25.
For the Garden Valley School Division (GVSD), Superintendent Dan Ward says it will mean a modest increase of two percent to their operating support, which works out to $725.000.
"Garden Valley School Division will be receiving a 2 percent increase to operating support, which is $725,000," said Ward.
"It's going to certainly present some challenges. When we look at inflation, yes it's slowed down, but two percent is still below our level of inflation as determined by the CPI. So, we're going to have to look at that and see how it's going to impact the budget for 2024/25."
Last week's education funding announcement also included news the multi-year tax freeze on property taxes for school boards has been lifted.
Ward says they're still early in the process and the board has not had a chance to deliberate yet on the numbers that were announced.
"It's definitely something the board will discuss and look at based on our needs, our existing programs, as well as what this two percent increase will mean in light of other pressures, both inflationary, contractional obligations and programming."
GVSD is also eagerly anticipating what the new education funding model will mean for the division. During last week's announcement, the province confirmed it's developing a new funding model for the next fiscal year.
"We are very much looking forward to what the new funding model will mean for our school division. We know that in Garden Valley, especially over the last number of years with the tax freeze, we've become more dependent on equalization." Ward said that certainly doesn't create a whole lot of equity for school divisions. "In particular, a lot of rural school divisions. So we are definitely hopeful that the new funding model will provide more equity, especially for rural Manitoba."
"We know from our public what their priorities are and certainly our emphasis on recovery, learning coming out of the pandemic is something that our public supported," said Ward. "But that is definitely informing the process around budgets, the importance of programming, the importance of supporting every student that really came through in our consultations. And that will help inform the deliberations as they continue."
Receiving the numbers late last week from the government, Ward said it'll take the board some time to get through it all and start to deliberate on the budget for 24/25.