Manitoba

Special needs pupils sacrificed in school budget

A Winnipeg School Division trustee says the the budget is being balanced on the backs of special needs students.

A Winnipeg School Division trustee says the the budget is being balanced on the backs of special needs students.

The division approved a tax increase of 7.8 per cent during a meeting Monday night. To get to that number, they had to cut $900,000 from the special needs budget that was earmarked for educational assistants, said trustee Mark Wasyliw.

And while the board may say it's because there are fewer students with special needs, Wasyliw says it's because the province has cut the students off.

The division applied for special needs help for 100 students but was rejected by the government.

"They're basically denying applications that in previous years they've granted. So we had something like 100 kids who normally would be granted this extra funding from the province that weren't," Wasyliw said.

"The difference between helping these kids and not helping them is about $5 on the average home. Given our moral and legal obligations we should have funded those kids."

The tax increase in the division means an added $76 to the property bill of a home assessed at $150,000.

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

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