The provincial government’s failure to adequately fund public education, for five years in a row, will have dire and long-lasting effects on the delivery of education and student outcomes for Manitoba students.
“The government boasts that this is the most funding public education has ever received, but that’s only half the story,” said MTS President James Bedford. “What is missing from this narrative is the fact that this funding is not enough to meet the increasing needs of Manitoba’s K-12 student population.”
Bedford also said that increased resources will be required to meet students’ recovery learning needs following the pandemic.
Today’s investment of 1.56 per cent continues the government’s trend of funding public education below the rate of inflation. When capital funding is deducted from the total, the amount of funding going into Manitoba classrooms is barely 1 per cent.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the important role of public education in our society. It has also highlighted the significant inequities in the system,” Bedford said. “With everything that has happened in the past year, the government’s continued refusal to invest in public education is incomprehensible.”
The government has continued to tighten the purse strings on education funding, and with the impending release of the recommendations from the K-12 education review, there is concern that schools will have to make tough choices about staffing and programming, Bedford said.
“We have said from day one, that any additional costs to implementing the K-12 recommendations must come with adequate funding. There is simply no room for extras,” he said. “At the end of the day, when the government does not fulfill its funding responsibility, it’s the students that suffer and quite frankly that is unacceptable.”
The government also announced a $5.5 million increase to special needs funding.
“We are pleased to see that government is responding to concerns we have been raising around special needs funding,” Bedford said. “We look forward to hearing the details on how these funds will be used in the classrooms to meet these diverse student needs.”
In a recent poll conducted by Viewpoints Research, on behalf of The Manitoba Teachers’ Society, the majority of Manitobans (64 per cent) said that the province should spend more on education.