RETSD board approves ‘lean’ 2023-24 budget
The River East Transcona School Division board of trustees approved a ‘lean’ $224 million budget for the 2023-24 school year on March 7.
“At the centre of every budget decision is our students,” RETSD board chair Colleen Carswell said in a statement.
“But quality education is at stake if we’re forced to continue to cut. We’ve found efficiencies in the budget, such as deferring maintenance in schools, but this is not a long-term solution to chronic underfunding.”
According to Elise Downey, RETSD secretary-treasurer and chief financial officer, the mill rate for the City of Winnipeg portion of RETSD is 10.951.
“The average cost of a home in RETSD has (increased) from $292,400 to $329,100,” Downey noted.
“(So) the increase in school taxes will be $13 or 0.8 per cent.”
The second-largest school division in Manitoba, RETSD is home to 17,989 students in 42 schools, with a staff of approximately 3,000.
The school division is expecting at least 500 new students to join the division this fall, which as led to 14 new teaching positions for 2023-24. Along with costs of student service allocations, new technology, and more, the RETSD made the decision to borrow funds for 2023-24, after running a $3.6 million deficit in 2022-23 and effectively tapping out its reserves.
“Our government must step up and provide a fair, equitable, and adequate funding model to allow public education to thrive, otherwise next year we will be forced to make deep cuts in the classroom, something we do not want to do,” said trustee Rod Giesbrecht, chair of the RETSD finance committee.
According to the RETSD, 57.5 per cent of its revenue comes from the provincial government program support, 6.3 per cent from the provincial government property tax credit, and another 35.6 per cent from the local property tax base, with the remaining 0.6 per cent from other revenue sources.
Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112