Manitoba

Louis Riel School Division approves 3.1% tax hike

The Louis Riel School Division is raising its school tax by 3.1 per cent, making it the fourth school division in Winnipeg to announce a tax hike this month.
Trustees with the Louis Riel School Division approved the 3.1 per cent school tax increase on Tuesday evening. (CBC)

The Louis Riel School Division is raising its school tax by 3.1 per cent, making it the fourth school division in Winnipeg to announce a tax hike this month.

Louis Riel trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday in favour of increasing its education tax portion by 3.1 per cent this year.

That means the average homeowner in the area covered by the school division will pay $46 more on property taxes compared to last year.

Trustees say the tax increase — the first the division has introduced since 2007 — is being driven by rising salaries and growing student enrollment.

"The budget's driven a lot by teachers' salaries. Salaries are over 80 per cent of our budget," school board chairman Gary Gervais told CBC News.

Gervais said teachers are getting a two per cent pay increase in each of the next three years.

Meanwhile, the school division is forecasting about 100 more students next year, he added.

At 3.1 per cent, the Louis Riel School Division's tax increase is less than half of the 7.8 per cent tax hike the Winnipeg School Division approved on Monday.

It's also lower than the 6.2 per cent hike the Pembina Trails School Division announced last week.

But some area residents, like Mary Mogg, said any tax increase will still hurt homeowners.

"What about people who are on fixed incomes? What about people that are on their pensions and still own their homes? Are they going to be able to afford it?" Mogg said.

The River East Transcona School Division approved a 2.9 per cent tax increase on March 6.

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

Several school divisions in Winnipeg have yet to vote on their 2012 tax rates this year.