While the rest of the world’s priority has been the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Manitoba has proposed Bill 64: The Education Modernization Act, an act that has been characterized by some as ‘radical’ and a ‘once in a lifetime’ change to public education in Manitoba.

While the rest of the world’s priority has been the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Manitoba has proposed Bill 64: The Education Modernization Act, an act that has been characterized by some as ‘radical’ and a ‘once in a lifetime’ change to public education in Manitoba.


The slogan accompanying the introduction of the act is "Better Education Starts Today."
But better education is already here in Manitoba. Teachers, staff, and senior administration continue to adapt and change for the betterment of students.

The board of trustees of the Louis Riel School Division has distributed more than 500 lawn signs decrying the massive changes proposed in Bill 64.

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The board of trustees of the Louis Riel School Division has distributed more than 500 lawn signs decrying the massive changes proposed in Bill 64.


School divisions have continued to ensure that education is the best it can be during the pandemic and through the rollercoaster of public health orders.


As the mother of two girls in French Immersion in the Louis Riel School Division, they (and I) know that they have great teachers and a more-than-amazing school system that has adapted and supported them through the past 15 months.


What does Bill 64 mean to LRSD? I have a few questions:


• If school boards are eliminated and school divisions are dismantled, what will happen to the culture and community of the LRSD we know and love today?


• As we move from a division of 15,600 students in 40 schools to a Winnipeg region of 100,000-plus students in 247 schools, how will a community focus be ensured?


• If school boards are eliminated and the democratically elected voice in the public education system is removed, how will we ensure democratic accountability? How will we ensure that taxes are being invested locally? Where do we take our local concerns regarding education?


• With school taxes being eliminated from property taxes, how will public education continue to be funded?


• How will parents balance their busy schedules while simultaneously being asked to step up and play a governance role in their child’s education rather than electing a local school board (a democratically elected local structure) for this governance responsibility?


School boards across Manitoba have encouraged their communities to become informed and encourage people to read, ask questions and educate themselves regarding Bill 64 and its four-pillar strategy. In LRSD, we have held Bill 64 virtual forums with parents, community, and parent councils.


LRSD will continue to ensure our students have what they need to succeed. We agree that there are opportunities for improvement and change, and we will continue to advocate for students, staff, and education in LRSD and for the whole of Manitoba.


While the government pushes on with Bill 64, I do hope that we get a period of post-pandemic recovery in 2021-22.


Students, staff and families need a break. Time to breathe, time to regroup, time to focus on well-being and mental health and time to enjoy summer and prepare for, hopefully, a more typical school year.


I encourage you to read Bill 64 and the information shared on bettereducation.ca, localvoices.ca and lrsd.net

Pamela Kolochuk is a Ward 4 trustee for the Louis Riel School Division.

Pamela Kolochuk

Pamela Kolochuk
Louis Riel School Division trustee

Pamela Kolochuk is a Ward 4 trustee for the Louis Riel School Division.

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