BPSD receives new provincial funding



Photo by Kira Paterson. A recent funding announcement from the province will have an impact on the BPSD budget deliberations.

By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner/Neepawa Press

The Beautiful Plains School Division (BPSD) is receiving a little extra financial support from the province. On Jan. 5, Premier Greg Selinger announced a 2.5 per cent increase to its $1.3 billion budget for school funding. That works out to a $32.5 million increase provincially, with an estimated $475,000 of that earmarked for Beautiful Plains.

“We invest in our schools so all families can see their children get a high-quality education and the skills they need to get good jobs here in Manitoba,” said Selinger, in a prepared statement.

BPSD secretary-treasurer Gord Olmstead said while this additional funding is welcome, it’s still not a significant enough amount to help the division deal with it’s expanding enrolment and the personnel needs that expansion creates. He said when the numbers are broken down to a per-pupil basis, the funding increase disappears quickly.

“From a percentage standpoint, Beautiful Plains is one of the fastest growing school divisions in the province. Over the past few years, our enrolment numbers have gone up at a rate well beyond what those funding numbers can cover,” noted Olmstead. “More students means more staff is required and with staffing being the largest portion of our budget spending, $475,000 will not stretch as far as you may think.”

Currently, staff salaries account for between 75 to 80 per cent of the total school division budget.

BPSD superintendent Jason Young said the estimated $475,000 equals out to about 5 per cent of the total support the division receives from the Province of Manitoba. 60 per cent of Beautiful Plain’s total budget is covered by provincial funding, while the remaining 40 per cent is received via school taxes. Young stressed that it remains to be seen how this new funding might affect school tax assessments. Preliminary work on school division budget began in December and a finalized budget is expected to be ready by mid-March.