Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen feels the half a per cent increase in education funding announced late last week is very fair. He says when you consider the province is still coping with a significant deficit, the additional $6.6 million for education province-wide is appropriate. Goertzen adds school divisions that have growing student populations are getting more than .5 per cent.
"The Hanover School Division is an example. They'll get three times the amount of the average increase, 1.6 per cent, largely because of the increase in enrollment."
The situation in Western School Division is similar where provincial eucation funding will rise 4.4 per cent, due mainly to higher student numbers.
Goertzen says while some people are critical of this year's education grant, he reminds them about what happened last year.
"Last year, with the same funding hike, the system increased the number of positions, largely teachers and clinicians, so frontline workers, by 232 positions. So, there certainly still was significant hiring able to be done last year with that level of funding increase."
Goertzen has also asked school divisions to limit their local property tax increases to no more than 2 per cent and to honour the province's request to hold the line on pay increases for two years.
Meanwhile, Goertzen says he is very much looking forward to the outcome of year-long K-12 education review announced last week. He adds there is plenty of room for improvement.
"We spend, in Manitoba, about the second-highest in Canada per capita-per student and yet we get the worst results. So, if we're spending the second-highest amount per student and we're getting the worst results, something isn't working. And so we have to look at what it is that isn't working."
The K-12 review team is to present its report to the Minister in February, 2020.