PC education announcement leaves too many questions

Today’s election announcement by the Pallister Conservatives to eliminate school boards’ ability to set education taxes comes with a major question: where is the money for our schools going to come from?

Over the past number of years, the provincial share of funding for schools has decreased, leaving local school boards to pick up the tab through property taxes.

Without a clear commitment by the PCs to maintain and increase existing funding levels for our schools, this announcement smells like a cut to our education system.

“School boards in Manitoba hold the ability to set education property taxes in order to provide programming that best suits the needs of their local communities,” says Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE Manitoba.

“The current system ensures that school divisions in rural areas, or communities with higher need students can determine priorities for programs and resources to help these students succeed”.

What Pallister doesn’t tell us is that funding for education will still come from Manitoba taxpayers, only now decisions will be made on Broadway instead of in local communities.

Without a clear plan that ensures funding growth for education and local authority over staffing and programming, the PC announcement leaves more questions than answers.