Manitoba's NDP government is giving public schools a $32.5-million boost for programs this year over last year, raising total funding for public education to more than $1.3 billion.
"This education announcement, over $32 million — a 2.55 per cent increase, which is larger than growth in the economy — will provide resources to target … achievement, an inclusive education, and an education that allows you to have a bridge to your future career to make a living for yourself," Premier Greg Selinger told reporters on Tuesday.
"Some have said, 'Well geez, you know, you're spending a lot of money on education, but are you getting the results?' And the short answer is yes. We have a record graduation rate in this province right now of 87 per cent," he added.
Selinger was joined by Education Minister James Allum, Health Minister Sharon Blady and representatives from the Manitoba Teachers' Society and the Manitoba School Boards Association for the announcement at Sturgeon Heights Collegiate in Winnipeg.
Teachers' union praises 'stable funding'
Norm Gould, president of the Manitoba Teachers' Society, said he welcomes Tuesday's funding increase.
"This announcement recognizes that classrooms are more challenging and diverse than ever," Gould said in written statement.
"Once again, public schools can count on stable funding at the rate of economic growth that is responsive to the needs of teachers, students, parents, and communities across the province."
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$13.9 million dollars will be invested in literacy and numeracy programs this year, an increase of 5.9 per cent from last year, said Education Minister, James Allum.
Manitoba has some of the worst scores in math in Canada according to a 2015 education report by the C.D. Howe Institute.
"While we recognize that 86 per cent of our kids meet or exceed our expectations, while 87 per cent of our kids graduate, post secondary enrolment is at an all time high, we also acknowledge that we have a learning gap here," Allum said.
Where the money will go
In a news release, the government says the extra money will give school divisions more resources to "support student achievement."
The funding includes:
- $13.9 million for literacy and numeracy programs.
- $1.8 million for the Student Achievement Fund, which supports programs that help students succeed.
- New supports for school administrators to "support data-based decision-making" in classrooms.
The province will spend $200,000 to help low-income students pay for college and university application fees and launch a website to help high school students and young adults see what education and training they would need to land their dream jobs.
The government says it will also develop high school credits for paid employment, co-op placements and internships and consult with students on what tools they want to help prepare them for work or post-secondary studies.
Selinger added that programs will be put in place to support indigenous students, underprivileged youth and refugees and newcomers to the province.
The province noted that its support for public schools has gone up by 69.5 per cent, or more than $536 million, since 1999.
Manitoba government: History of funding public school system
Manitoba government: History of funding public school system (PDF KB)
Manitoba government: History of funding public school system (Text KB)