Voters in Manitoba head to the polls on October 3rd. Public education in our province must be a priority during the 2023 election. Our students and schools depend on you as a voter.
The Manitoba School Boards Association has shared information to inform voters about educational priorities. Some facts to consider as you plan to evaluate who best deserves your vote:
The largest share of investment in students, staff and school programs and buildings comes from the Manitoba government. Two decades of provincial education budget plans have remained below the rate of inflation. Between 2006/07 and 2021/22, actual growth to Manitoba’s education budget was 19.2%, while inflation across this same time grew by 34.6%, resulting in a funding gap of over $500 million.
The average age of a school building in Manitoba is 56 years. Investing in aging capital infrastructure remains key to the success of providing quality and healthy spaces for our students. For many years, Manitoba experienced the second lowest growth in school capital spending across Canada.
One out of every four Manitobans experience mental health challenges during their lifetime. Many of these experiences begin during the school-age years. Making investments in early interventions, as provided by qualified professionals and specialists, can make significant differences. Manitoba must make more strides in funding sustainable and appropriate mental health services for youth, beyond the current annual funding of $120 per student.
Since 1999, Manitoba teachers are required to complete five years of higher education to obtain their qualifications. Senior school leaders such as principals and superintendents, on average, contribute over 25 years of experience when fulfilling their responsibilities. For Manitoba’s 16,000 teachers and 34,000 support staff, providing positive and nurturing educational opportunities remains a personal and professional investment – one that is well deserving of compensation. Widespread labour market shortages intensify these issues. To date, no funding has been identified or committed by any political party to address future compensation increases for the next four years.
Our Students Matter – Educational success depends on addressing poverty; creating safe, healthy, inclusive and caring schools for everyone; moving forward on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples; building strong relationships and communication with families; and providing key community services. Schools alone cannot meet our students’ needs. It takes a village, along with sustainable government support, to raise a child.
For more information to help inform your vote, visit Manitoba School Boards Association - 2023 Provincial General Election at https://www.mbschoolboards.ca/provincial-general-election-2023/.