Morden’s Multicultural Winterfest Is Coming

Morden’s Multicultural Winterfest is Saturday, Feb 16, 12:30-4:30 p.m. at... Details Here

Directives outlined in the Province's public schools funding announcement Thursday didn't come as much of a surprise to the Board Chair of Border Land School Division.

The announcement saw Education and Training Minister, Ian Wishart, state government's intention to nix the 38 collective bargaining units in Manitoba and create a single bargaining table for public school teachers.

"Provincial bargaining has been on the table for many years and I think finally this government has decided to head in that direction," said BLSD Board Chair, Craig Smiley.

The Manitoba government is also asking school divisions to limit increases on education property taxes to 2 percent in 2018/19.

Smiley said BLSD officials are unsure of what this will mean for the Division and noted that Secretary-Treasurer, Rachel Geirnaert, has been pouring over the numbers since the announcement came down. Until that impact is fully assessed, Smiley said he is hesitant to talk about possible cuts.

Starting in 2018/19 the Province will also phase out the Tax Incentive Grant over the course of six years. The T.I.G. is a voluntary program intended to help school divisions hold the line on taxes.

Smiley admits that, in his opinion, the T.I.G.'s time has come and gone. He noted however, the government will have to replace the program with something.

Overall, Smiley feels Thursday's announcement is just the beginning of a sweeping change in how education is financed in Manitoba and agrees that a fair review of the system is needed. He said the rate that school divisions have been levying ratepayers can't continue.

"At the end of the day there is only one taxpayer and the increases that have been happening over the years, people don't get those kinds of increases in their jobs (and) it's hard to keep up."

Minister Wishart added Thursday that further financing examination will happen in early 2019 when the province launches its review of the K-12 education system.

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