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WSD invited parents and residents from across the
division to meet and discuss the 2018/2019 budget in depth at a Nov. 30
Pre-Budget Consultation meeting.
The public was encouraged to come out and learn
more about programs and services offered at WSD’s 78 schools, and to provide
feedback on budget priorities as the WSD Board of Trustees begins planning for
the 2018/2019 school year budget.
“We’re inviting community members to come out and
share their values and vision for the Winnipeg School Division’s budget,” said
Trustee Chris Broughton, who also chairs the board’s finance committee. “It’s
always about listening to the community, because that is who we represent…and
the public education system ultimately exists to build the best future for our
children that we can.”
The evening gave parents the chance to discuss the
issues relating to their specific schools.
“We do broad-based consultations about where the
division is going as a whole, but tonight is more about what is needed at the
individual schools,” said WSD Chief Financial Officer and Secretary-Treasurer
Paul Kochan. “We’re asking parents: ‘what will help out at the school where
your child is attending?’ We make important budgetary decisions about their
children and their property taxes levels, so we want to hear what parents have
Parent Theresa Tougas, who serves on the parent
advisory council at Elmwood High School, said she would like to ensure
budgetary support for educational assistants in the classroom. She also puts a
high priority on mental health awareness and supports for students.
“The funding is going down and the needs are
growing…we need to make sure that the money is going where it needs to go,” she
said. “When it comes to (education) budgets, I’m still learning, but I learn
more each meeting I go to.”
The Manitoba Public Schools act mandates that
school divisions consult with residents regarding their budgets each year.
WSD measures and reviews programming and services,
throughout the year, to ensure fiscal responsibility in managing tax dollars.
The Board and the Secretary-Treasurer’s department have already met with four
district advisory councils separately to discuss the budget.
As for next steps, the WSD Board Office is
compiling feedback from the meeting for review by the Board of Trustees. An
additional four district budget consultations will take place following the
provincial budget announcement, as well as a special session of the WSD Board.
“The education system is so integral, not only to
the future of our children, but the future of our city, our province and our
economy,” Mr. Broughton said. “How we prepare for the future is really decided
today, with the dollars and cents we invest in education.”