Skip to main content

Chair’s Message

May 25, 2023

Message from the Board of Trustees on book bans

The Board of Trustees acknowledges receipt of public emails expressing concerns regarding the proposed book bans in the Brandon School Division (BSD) (note, BSD Trustees rejected the proposal on May 23). The WSD Board of Trustees appreciates the commitment to ensuring a safe, equitable, and inclusive educational environment for all students.

At this time, the matter of proposed book bans has not been discussed by the Board of Trustees.  The Board of Trustees appreciates the proactive approach in expressing support for maintaining the 2SLGBTQ+ and gender-affirming books in school libraries. 

In alignment with WSD Policy IGABB-Safe and Caring-Trans and Gender Diverse Students and Staff, it is imperative that students have access to diverse and inclusive resources, particularly those that serve the needs of 2SLGBTQ+ youth. Recognizing the importance of gender-affirming content, the Board of Trustees understands that it plays a crucial role in the well-being and development of these students, who often face isolation, lack of support, and limited representation in traditional educational settings and curricula.

Message from the Chair (2021/2022 school year)

I’m pleased to acknowledge that Winnipeg School Division and its 79 schools are located on, Treaty One Territory and traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and on the Homeland of the Red River Métis.

As our students and staff returned to school in September 2021, we continued to face concerns about the impacts of the COVID pandemic and dealing with the fourth wave of the virus. It was a daunting time but one, I’m proud to say, that our educators, support staff and students did their best to work through. Over the school year, we worked collaboratively with the WSD Senior Management Team, to keep our community healthy.

Our Board of Trustees continued to govern the school division, meeting through virtual platforms to ensure regular contact and oversight of divisional issues. The year marked the 150th anniversary of Winnipeg School Division, and we celebrated that landmark throughout the community.

In September, 2021, I had the pleasure of representing the Board of Trustees at the official opening of Winnipeg School Division’s newest school, École Waterford Springs School. The new Nursery to Grade 8 school is located on the southeast corner of Jefferson and King Edward. 

Also, during this school year, I was very pleased to be part of a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees to rename Cecil Rhodes School as Keewatin Prairie Community School. Keewatin Prairie Community School identifies with the school’s geographical location while also honouring the Cree and Ojibwe languages. Keewatin means “the land of the northwest wind”.

An important function of the Board of Trustees is to establish a balanced budget for the division for the following year. Achieving this has become more and more difficult, as we face unwarranted limitations the current provincial government has placed on school divisions’ ability to raise revenue, which continues to put programs and services in jeopardy. For the current year budget (2022 to 2023), we had to rely on one-time provincial funding, along with accessing the WSD accumulated surplus funds, in order to balance the annual budget.

In closing, the WSD Board of Trustees is pleased to work in partnership with employees at every level of the organization to achieve positive results for students, staff and the community. We thank our many community partners for your continued support throughout the year, including WSD Children’s Heritage Fund, The Winnipeg Foundation, Harvest Manitoba, Children’s Variety, Indspire, Southern Chiefs Organization and many more.

Betty Edel
Chair, Board of Trustees
Winnipeg School Division

Back to top