Winnipeg residents who live in the city's largest school division will have to pay almost eight per cent more on their property taxes this year.

The Winnipeg School Division announced Monday that they are increasing the education tax portion by 7.8 per cent.


Kristine Barr, chair of the Winnipeg School Division's finance and personnel committee, said even with the 7.8 per cent increase, taxpayers will pay less this year than they did in 2005. (CBC)

For an average home, valued at $150,000, the increase means homeowners will have to pay an extra $76 on their property tax bills compared to what they paid last year.

School board trustees said they have no choice but to raise taxes, citing less provincial funding and growing enrollment in their schools.

"We have 800 more students in the Winnipeg School Division this year, so our increased enrollment brings increased costs. We also have increasing salaries … utilities are going up, we have aging buildings that require repairs," Kristine Barr, chair of the division's finance and personnel committee, told CBC News.

"So with all of those issues that we're faced with, in order to maintain the system, we had increase taxes by 7.8 per cent this year."

Some parents, like Irene Thomas, agreed that a tax increase is necessary.

"There are certain luxuries that we take for granted. And having a strong school system, we can't take that for granted anymore," said Thomas, who volunteers at her 10-year-old daughter's school in northwest Winnipeg.

But other parents have argued that the extra money should come from elsewhere, not from ratepayers' pockets.

"They shouldn't take it from the families, especially when … you got to put food on the table and pay for hydro, water and rent," said Andrew Spence, whose son attends Victoria Albert School.

Barr noted that taxpayers in the Winnipeg School Division will actually pay less this year than they did in 2005, as education taxes had been decreasing in the past few years.

Last week, the Pembina Trails School Division announced it will increase its education tax portion by 6.2 per cent.

The division cited a number of factors, including the discontinuation of the provincial Tax Incentive Grant, a limited increase in revenue, and rising costs.