The Brandon School Division released its preliminary budget Monday night, proposing four tax-increasing scenarios for consideration.
The highest suggestion, a 4.18 per cent increase, would maintain the budget with an additional $377,100 in budget requests. The lowest increase, suggested at 1.5 per cent, would leave the BSD looking at more than $2.3 million in reductions.
"We want to lay out some options out there just so people understand the implications," said BSD board chair Kevan Sumner. "If they’re really thinking in terms of tax increases and want us to get down to 1.5 per cent … If we went to staff, that would be taking more than 25 teachers out of our classrooms if we had to make it up through salaries. In turn, that would bump up class sizes and we’re already the sixth-highest class sizes in the province."
BSD will receive about 2.3 per cent — or $1.1 million — more in provincial funding this year due to an increase in enrolment. The division is expecting a 1.9 per cent increase in enrolment, or 157 more students, for September 2017.
Education Minister Ian Wishart announced at the beginning of February that funding for public schools in Manitoba would increase by just one per cent — a total of $13.1 million. This was a significant drop from funding provided by the former NDP government in previous years. Last year, the NDP increased education funding by 2.55 per cent, or $32.5 million.
Parents will have the opportunity to weigh in on the four options on Wednesday when BSD holds its public consultation forum at Kirkcaldy Heights School Gymnasium at 7 p.m.
"I cannot stress enough the importance of people coming out to our public budget consultations … It’s really important to us that anyone that is concerned with the potentials of our budget come out because this is the opportunity to voice opinions," Sumner said.
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