Children's Museum faces funding crunch
The Manitoba Children's Museum is facing difficult decisions, such as eliminating programs that offer free admission to underprivileged children.
Winnipeg city officials have proposed a 10 per cent funding cut for 15 city museums and heritage programs, including the children's museum.
The proposed cuts could mean $21,000 less for the children's museum, located at The Forks. It is also losing money it was expecting from the city to pay for recent renovations, said executive director Diane Doth.
"I was shocked, actually, and disappointed, and I still can't believe that this was actually the case," she said about learning of the funding cutbacks.
"I just think it has to be a mistake. I don't know who would propose cuts like that to the children's museum."
Doth said the museum relies heavily on its annual grant from the city, which was $120,000 in 2012.
Even at that amount, the museum was something left scrambling. It recently cut jobs to help balance the budget this year, Doth said.
"We've had to lay off one staff person and two other full-time professional staff have been switched to part time," she said.
Now the museum will have to consider other measures, such as increasing the general admission fee and membership rates, or canceling programs that offer free admission to underprivileged children.
At city hall, Coun. Paula Havixbeck proposed a motion to cancel the funding cuts for now, at least while the city gets more information about the museums' financial needs.
Coun. Jenny Gerbasi expressed her overall disapproval with the city's proposed budget, citing the funding cuts as an example.
"To sit back and approve giving yourself and your office a $40,000-a-year increase, and then you're going to take away 10 per cent from the children's museum's budget when they've already had to cut back staff this year … when you're going to sic it to these non-profit museums," she said.