Homeowners in the Winnipeg School division may see their property tax bills go up by 3.6 per cent this year — due in part to a pilot project to fund all-day kindergarten.
Trustee Mike Babinsky said trustees started going over the draft budget Monday night, and if approved, the proposed tax increase would work out to about $36 a year on the average home.
“You have to unless you decrease the amount of teachers,” he said.
I addition, a portion of the increase would be earmarked for a pilot project to fund an all-day kindergarten program.
“Out of the $36 dollar increase, [the full-day kindergarten pilot] would only be a dollar,” he said.
The four-classroom pilot will require about $225,000, but the school needs another $380,000 for science lab techs and math programs.
The increase would raise about $8 million. Most would fund teachers' wages.
Homeowners in the division were already hit with a 6.8 per cent increase last year, so news of another hike was hard to swallow for homeowner David Burr.
"We already pay quite a bit of taxes," he said. "I lived in B.C. for most of my life, so it's quite a bit to be paying here. Considering our kids don't get bused until they're in Grade 12, it's quite a bit."
As for parent Jody Lake, she said she’s happy at least a portion of it is going to all-day kindergarten.
"As long as it goes to education, I'm OK with it, because I think education is important," said Lake. "If it's for all-day kindergarten, I think it would give kids a chance to just get used to the full day."
Public consultations will begin on Feb. 24, and Babinsky said the final budget will be completed by March 15.