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2014/2015 Budget

Thank you message from the Board Chair

Dear Parents, Residents and Members of the School Community:

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Winnipeg School Division, I would like to thank you for your participation in the development of the Division’s 2014/2015 Budget.

It is with your involvement, feedback and support that the Board of Trustees was able to approve the Budget which will continue to provide excellent learning opportunities for students in the Division. As a school board trustee, one of the most trying responsibilities is to ensure that students have all the educational tools required to develop their skill sets which will empower our youth to reach their fullest potential. 

Every year, the members of the Board are faced with the reality that provincial funding provides for only a portion of what is required for educational programming.  The remaining funds as well as the funds required for programming in the vital areas such as technology, sustainability, world issues and life skills that are essential to prepare our children for the future, must be raised through property taxation. While the Board is always very supportive to the educational needs of students, both in and out of the classroom, the Board also recognizes its fiduciary responsibility to the residents of the Division. 

I look forward to continuing our discussions on the importance of embracing an educational system that will evolve to meet the needs of the next generation of children and youth.

Suzanne Hrynyk
Board Chair

For specific information on the 2014/2015 Budget, please see below

Message from the Board Chair and Finance/Personnel Committee Chair
The Winnipeg School Division is the largest and oldest school division in the Province of Manitoba.  The Division provides educational programs and services for more than 33,000 students from nursery to grade 12 including programs and supports for adults.  The students in the Division come from a variety of backgrounds and include a significant Aboriginal and multi-ethnic population as well as a number of students with special needs.
The members of the School Board are proud of the scope and excellence of the programs and supports provided for the students in the Winnipeg School Division. The cost of educating students in the Winnipeg School Division in 2013/2014 was more than $365 Million.  While over half of this cost is funded by the provincial government , a large part of the cost is supported by the property taxpayers in the Division.
There are approximately 5,000 employees who work either on a full or part-time basis including instructional staff, clerks, teacher assistants, custodians, tradespeople and administration.  The Division facilities consist of 77 schools, approximately 5,130,000 square feet of building space and approximately 300 acres of grounds. It is important to share these facts about the Division with parents and residents to appreciate the complexity of operating a large public school system.
As leaders in education, our schools and our Division take great pride in providing high quality and innovative programs and services for our students and their families.  The Board of Trustees is proud of the programs and services offered to students in the Winnipeg School Division and we are grateful of all the staff who make this possible.
The Board of Trustees believes that the education of children is a partnership between the home and the school community.  The members of the Board strongly support  a communication process that has an open dialogue with parents, residents and members of the community on the costs related to programs, services and supports required to care for our children and youth including the implication of these budget changes on property taxation.
During the development of the Budget Process, a number of communication and consultation processes are in place which include hosting District Advisory Committee meetings with parents/residents as well as providing opportunities for residents and stakeholders to provide feedback to the Board on proposed changes in property taxes.  The Board will continue to meet with parents, residents and stakeholders during the month of February to create a better understanding of the challenges.
The Division relies on the revenues raised from property taxation to offer unique programs and services and options for students that  reflect local needs and the priorities of our communities. However, many increased costs in school division operations are beyond the control of school boards. Changes in student populations and enrolment numbers, community needs and expectations, new provincial policy directions and legislation, arbitrated salary awards, and inflationary increases for services and commodities have significant financial impacts for school board budgets and implications for property tax levels. 
It is essential that we continue to focus on the classroom and place students as our top priority.  Investing in education for our children will benefit all citizens now and for years to come.