Winnipeg School Division approved budget according to province's demand

Winnipeg School Division approved the budget on Monday.

As it became known, the Winnipeg School Division's board of trustees complied with the province's demand not to raise property tax above 2%.

"We didn't pass the budget of the Winnipeg School Division, we passed a budget that was essentially mandated for us by the minister of education," said Lisa Naylor, WSD's finance chair. "We passed the budget because we weren't left with any real choices."

Initially, the board wanted a property tax increase of 2.9%. This would help make a positive change in its funding. However, by voting, it was decided not to raise the tax by more than 2%.

Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen noted that schools do not have the right to raise this figure. Otherwise, they risk seeing a reduction in administrative funding.

"It was a threat from another level of government to penalize us substantially in a financial way," said Naylor.

If the estimated tax increase were taken, then a Winnipeg resident, whose property is estimated at $214,000, would pay $41 more per year. The accepted increase reduces this amount by $6. So, a Winnipegger now will pay $35 more every year.

Kelvin Goertzen noted that he is very pleased with the decision of Winnipeg School Division.

"We are pleased to see that the Winnipeg School Division was able to do what every other school division in Manitoba could," he said. "We are committed as a government to providing support to students and protecting taxpayers."

However, not everyone agrees on the decision regarding tax. For example, Board Chair Chris Broughton. He voted against.  

"Next year, things are going to be dramatically worse if we continue down this path," said Broughton. "Without a change in provincial funding, without a change in the special requirement cap by this provincial government, we're going to be forced to make extraordinarily tough decisions, that are going to lead to cuts that families are going to feel."

The man also added that given the consequences of which the minister had declared, the board simply had no choice but to support him.

MORE NEWS:The political battle over Winnipeg's road repair funding continues

Winnipeg School Division property tax Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen
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