Mountain View School Division approved its 2019-2020 Operating Budget at its regular Board Meeting held Monday, March 11, 2019. The provincial funding announcement delivered on January 24th provided an education funding increase of 0.5% provincially. An enrolment increase in the current year meant the division would receive a 0.35% increase in formula support but the continued phase out of the Tax Incentive Grant and reductions in the General Support Grant left provincial support virtually unchanged from the previous year. Based on the announcement and a review of all other revenue sources, including local taxation, revenues for 2019-20 will be $350,847 higher than the 2018-19 revenue levels.
In approving the 2019-2020 budget, the Board of Trustees is mindful of resources required as we work towards meeting the established goals of the 2016-2021 Division Plan. The Division Plan focus areas are literacy, numeracy, career education, mental health and safe and caring schools.
The desired goal of the 2019-2020 school year is to channel resources to support initiatives identified in the Division Plan. By utilizing student achievement data, we can ensure resource allocations are used for maximum benefits in the areas they are most needed. These benefits will include quality instruction by maintaining professional staff and providing supports for students requiring assistance to meet learning outcomes. The resources will also provide continued support in literacy and numeracy instruction through grade level professional development and focus on preparation for life after school through Career Exploration. Additionally, the resources will be used to strengthen teachers’ knowledge and skills in supporting student mental health and wellness.
This was a difficult budget process with little room for increased costs. The Board and Senior Administration worked to ensure budget reductions had the least amount of impact on classroom instruction, and this is very much a status quo budget. While the impact overall will be small, trustee indemnities will be frozen for a third year. Enrolments have increased from the previous year and are expected to rise slightly next year, so staffing levels will remain unchanged.
Expenditure increases of $390,536 are required for salary and benefit costs, based on our contractual obligations. However, expenditure reductions of $39,869 in supplies, materials and equipment budgets limited the overall expenditure increase to $350,847.
The overall budget will increase 0.84% to $42,364,760 for the 2019/2020 school year. The Special Levy approved for 2019 is $16,992,673, an increase of $455,091. This is based on a 2.0% increase to our special requirement. With relatively minor changes to property assessment values overall, the mill rate will increase from 15.34 to 15.63 mills. The impact on a home assessed at $150,000 would be an increase of $19.03.
While the budget process may be complete for another year, the province is currently embarking on a review of education in Manitoba. The focus of changes to date have been centered on the governance and administrative structures within school divisions, which include a move from local to provincial bargaining for teachers, directives to restrict local taxation abilities, and a reduction to the cap on administration costs. A systemic review of education is certainly overdue and welcome; however, it is critical that we all engage in this discussion to ensure the message of what we value about local public education reflecting the needs of our communities is included in this planned review.
For further information contact:
Leifa Misko, Board Chairperson Bart Michaleski, Secretary-Treasurer