The Manitoba government was elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2019. One of its platforms was to address education reforms and as part of that initiative created the Manitoba Education Review Commission.
The commission was made up of members from various backgrounds and was tasked to assess all aspects of the existing Manitoba education structure. As part of the commission’s review, it called for public input as well as opinions and observations of Manitoba stakeholders.
The government received the commission’s recommendations and developed a long-term strategy for the future of Manitoba education resulting in Bill 64.
After reviewing the recommendations and study of education in Manitoba, our government took the position that one of the challenges of Manitoba education was an inconsistency in delivery of education.
Bill 64 is structured to address inconsistencies and create a central strategy to ensure all students reap the benefits of current successes as well as identify and focus on the challenges with an overall provincial plan.
The new provincial strategy further establishes the Minister of Education as the overseer of Manitoba education by establishing three levels of education authority. Starting at the grassroots with the further development of parents being major contributors to their schools. School community councils will now have more responsibility when liaising with their school teachers and principals.
Bill 64 creates a Provincial Advisory Committee of Education. Each SCC will elect two members to the Provincial Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will advise the Minister of Education.
The overseeing body of Manitoba education delivery will be the Provincial Education Authority. The Provincial Education Authority will be term appointees who bring a multitude of educational expertise from a variety of backgrounds.
I wish to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of the St. James-Assiniboia board of trustees. Our school trustees are passionate when serving our children and our communities’ best interests.
It has become apparent to me that many of the responsibilities of school board trustees are diminishing.
The government was elected on platforms to fund education from general revenue rather than assessing an education property tax.
The ability to implement a special levy tax is being eliminated as education will now be funded from provincial general revenue. A major responsibility of school boards was having taxation authority.
The government is also implementing provincial bargaining which means the bargaining of contracts will now be done between the provincial government and the provincial employee associations. Local negotiations will no longer be required.
Bill 64 has been given first reading and will now follow the legislative process.
St. James constituency report.
Scott Johnston is the PC MLA for St. James.