January 26, 2023
For the second year in a row, The Manitoba Teachers’ Society has submitted a report to the provincial government in advance of the education funding announcement calling for adequate, equitable and stable funding to support student learning.
“The government has been sending out rebate cheques to Manitobans that amount to more than a billion dollars,” said MTS president James Bedford. “We are hoping to see some of this generosity extended to public education in the upcoming funding announcement. It would help alleviate six years of chronic underfunding.”
For the past six years, the provincial contribution to operating funding for public education has failed to keep pace with inflation. According to published Manitoba Education FRAME reports from 2016-17 to 2020-21, the audited provincial contribution to the operation of K-12 public schools declined by 5.2 per cent when adjusted for inflation (during the April 2016-April 2021 period).
“In years with inflation levels of two per cent, school divisions were already struggling to meet the needs of their students,” said Bedford. “Record high inflation rates coupled with the increasingly diverse and complex needs of Manitoba’s student population means the situation is dire.”
Operating revenue that is below the rate of inflation means that the public education system is losing ground on a per pupil basis.
“Put simply, it costs more to provide the things that were provided last year,” said Bedford. “Funding at a level to maintain student resources and supports results in a considerable and widening gap in the ability to meet the diverse needs of students.”
The MTS budget submission highlights key areas such as nutrition, mental health, class size, Indigenous education that require urgent support and enhancement. It makes practical, actionable recommendations on improvements to help ensure positive student outcomes.
Many of these recommendations were included in the Society’s 2022-23 education funding submission to government, and first appeared in the MTS report to Manitoba’s Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education in May 2019.
“These recommendations are not new. We have been calling on government to address these issues for many years,” said Bedford. “Manitoba students will continue to be shortchanged until government takes meaningful action by making the necessary investment to properly support our public schools.”