Manitoba school divisions will have almost $48 million to cover unanticipated costs of the COVID-19 pandemic and to reopen classrooms in September after the suspension of classroom learning during the past school year.
Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen says "our government's goal is to focus school funding on classrooms to ensure Manitoba students can thrive and excel. This is even more important as our province gradually emerges from the grip of COVID-19, and as we continue our plans to return to in-class teaching and learning this fall."
School divisions, along with Manitoba's entire summary government, took steps to limit non-essential spending during the early days of the pandemic. Some of the funds saved were used to cover new costs for improvements to technology for remote learning and the remaining savings will go toward adapting to reopening classrooms in September as well as for public health measures that may be in place.
In Brandon, about 245 employees were laid off including bus drivers, custodial assistants, secretaries and education assistants. The fiscal sustainability measures also involved executive compensation and management streamlining. School divisions were directed to reduce their executive and senior management complements by 15% by September 1st.
Goertzen says "this is good news for students and parents as it will mean more spent on improving classroom learning. The government measures ensure fiscal sustainability will make a positive impact on Manitoba schools and the education of students across the province."