Beautiful Plains School Division to receive more funding


By: Kate Jackman-Atkinson

On Jan. 28, the provincial government announced their public school funding for the 2013-2014 school year. 

Overall, funding will increase by $27.2 million, or 2.3 per cent. Locally, the Beautiful Plains School Division will see a funding increase of approximately seven per cent or $ 550,000. Division superintendent Jason Young explained that 4.8 per cent of that increase is due to increased enrolment in the last year.

The division also saw equalization increase by $ 420,000 or 33 per cent.  The new total is 1.629 million.

In the announcement, education minister Nancy Allen announced that highlights include new resources for anti-bullying programs and continuing support for stay-in-school initiatives, additional resources for numeracy to help students in early and middle years, build strong foundational skills in math, additional resources for early childhood literacy to help students get a strong start in reading and increased supports for northern students and students from remote communities.

The announced funding will also provide continued, stable funding for all school divisions including those with declining enrolments.

Allen also praised the government’s efforts at funding schools and keeping property taxes low, saying that since 1999, the Manitoba government has funded schools at or above the rate of economic growth, an increase of 57.1 per cent or $440.5 million. As well, since 2000, provinces across Canada have seen property tax increases as high 71 per cent, while in Manitoba, taxes have increased by a modest 9.2 per cent, the lowest in Canada.  

While the school division’s preliminary budget hadn’t yet been released, Young said that the additional funding will be going mainly into staffing to meet the needs of the growing enrolment. This will likely include the addition of about five new teachers.

As for where these new students will go, Young said that the division has re-aligned the grade configurations of the two Neepawa schools. HMK will teach students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 and Neepawa Area Collegiate will teach students in Grade 6 to Grade 12.  Young explained, “As the public is aware, we have requested a new middle school of the province in our five year capital plan as well as additional portable units to be added to Neepawa Area Collegiate for 2013/2014 to address the increase in student population.

Public consultation meetings about the division’s budget are scheduled for Feb. 25th in Neepawa and Feb. 27 in Carberry.