The provincial government delivered its budget today, which included a COVID-19 emergency supplement to ensure that Manitoba can respond to health and economic issues arising from the pandemic.
Finance minister Scott Fielding said that this is the largest amount of money in Manitoba history for emergency expenditures and that Manitobans should be reassured by this “unprecedented level of fiscal resilience and flexibility to quickly deliver the resources required to respond to any emergency.”
On the education front, the province committed $5 million to implement the education reforms arising out of its kindergarten to Grade 12 review. The recommendations from the review will be delayed due to COVID-19, but the government has said that no significant reforms will occur until summer 2021.
Budget 2020 also increased funding for curriculum development by $2.4 million. This funding will support the expansion of the provincial assessment program, modernization of the provincial curriculum framework, and renewal of the K-12 science and health education anti-addictions curricula.
The budget will fund 4,425 new classroom spaces that will be ready or under construction by the end of the fiscal year.
The government acknowledged that “good, healthy breakfast each morning is an important part of a child’s education” and said that they will continue to work with community partners to provide food within the school system for students who need it most. There was no mention of expanding to a universal meal program as recommended by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society in its submission to the K-12 Education Review Commission.
Budget 2020 set aside $5 million for the Teacher Idea Fund. There are few details about this initiative, which was first announced in 2019, apart from the fact that the government has committed to providing $25 million over a five-year period.