On January 31, RETSD hosted a Virtual Budget Information Evening to provide an overview of the current financial situation of the division, the budget process, and next steps in the budget deliberations amongst the Board of Trustees and senior administration.
Attendees were provided an opportunity to ask budget-related questions during the event. In the spirit of open, transparent, and honest communication with our public, below you will find responses to the questions posed. Please note, we have combined similar questions. If you submitted a question during the budget meeting and you do not see a response below, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
RETSD did not see the proposed new provincial funding model. However, members of the board of trustees and the senior administration were able to learn about the principles used by the province in creating it. The board provided formal feedback about those principles. RETSD is hopeful a new funding model is proposed in the near future that would be more equitable and might result in increased per-pupil funding to the school division.
RETSD spends less per pupil because it receives less per-pupil funding from the province. The RETSD tax base was and is limited, as there are fewer commercial properties like IKEA or the Outlet Collection Winnipeg mall. Prior to the cap on local taxation, if education tax was increased by 2 per cent in RETSD and 2 per cent in a tax-base-rich school division, the other school division would receive significantly more dollars; in other words, to receive the same amount of funds, a much larger percentage tax increase would have been required in RETSD. Therefore, RETSD was conscious of the impact on all its local ratepayers and increased taxes in a fiscally responsible manner. The current inequitable funding model needs to change and RETSD calls on the provincial government to change the funding formula.
The majority of the RETSD budget is spent on all divisional salaries and benefits – 86.4 per cent.
Due to COVID, there has been very little generated from programming. Despite the COVID years and after considering all the expenses associated with the program, International Education generates less than one per cent of our operating budget.
Yes. Recently, the chair and the vice-chair of the Board of Trustees, along with other members, met with the minister of education to apprise him of the financial situation of the school division. Members of the senior administration team have also met with members of Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning to share similar information.
In 2020, school divisions across the province were expected to reduce salaries related to administration by 15 per cent. RETSD complied with this expectation and, to date these positions have not been reinstated. As well, there is an administrative cap for school divisions of 2.7 per cent of its budget and RETSD consistently spends less on administrative salaries—2.6 per cent.
Salaries are determined through collective bargaining and bargaining with non-union groups. Unless published elsewhere, salaries are confidential, but in line with other divisions across the province. Currently, the school division is in a state of essential spending and minimal travel by staff is occurring. However, teachers have access to a personal professional development fund that is contractual. This fund is administered jointly between the school division and the local teachers’ association.
Programming & Services
When determining what programs and programming might be impacted due to reductions to budget, several factors are considered, including but not limited to:
• A review of the programs and programming that takes access and equity into account
• The impact on student learning and well-being
• The impact of a reduction of that program and programming on other programs and programming
To support learning environments that are accessible to all students as a place to learn, grow and fully participate in their school community, we are providing professional learning to classroom teachers that focus on universal design principals. Specifically, we are creating flexible curricular materials and experiences that make curricular learning expectations achievable by students with diverse abilities; we are utilizing technologies that support inclusive teaching practices; and we are providing student-specific accommodations as needed. To support the well-being of students, we are focusing on universal teachings related to well-being through the provincial curriculum and targeted, intensive interventions supported by our guidance counsellors and clinicians.
Parents and members of the community can advocate for education funding by contacting their local MLAs.