Manitoba government says document that floats school funding cuts has been rejected
WINNIPEG — Manitoba's Opposition New Democrats are accusing the government of planning to cut education, but the Progressive Conservative government says the NDP is using outdated information.
NDP Leader Wab Kinew tabled portions of a document in the legislature from a government group that is reviewing how the province funds the education system.
The five pages, which do not have an author's name, lay out possible funding amounts to each school division.
The document says some divisions would receive less money under a proposed new funding model, but a transitional amount of money would make up the difference.
Kinew says the documents prove the government is looking to cut education and trying to keep it secret until after the election slated for Oct. 3.
But Finance Minister Cliff Cullen says the document is part of a proposal developed months ago by the review group, which was rejected by the government before the spring budget.
"They looked at a number of (funding) models, they're still looking at a number of models," Cullen said Thursday.
"What was tabled today was a model that was completely rejected by our government."
The province has long been under pressure to revamp education funding, which is done through a mix of provincial general revenues and property taxes that appear on people's municipal tax bills.
Critics have said the system is unfair to school divisions in low-income areas, and have pointed out that most other provinces fund education directly.
A new funding model was originally scheduled to be in place this year, but the government announced in December it was delaying the revamp for more consultation.
Kinew said if the government is not planning to cut education, it should reveal the new funding model before voters go to the polls.
"The premier is hoping that you wouldn't see this before you had a chance to vote this year," Kinew said.
Cullen said the government has no plans to cut education funding, and pointed to the spring budget that boosted funding for kindergarten to Grade 12 by six per cent.
"We are not proposing any reduction in school division funding."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2023.
The Canadian Press