Seven Oaks School Division needs more support
The Manitoba legislative assembly returned to session on March 1 and I was excited to start my new role as the Opposition critic for consumer protection and government services. I look forward to this new responsibility and I am proud to represent our community in the legislative assembly.
I want to celebrate the fact that the Seven Oaks School Division now offers a Punjabi bilingual program for students from grades 1-3. This program came to be thanks to the advocacy of dedicated students, parents and community members and will offer students a way to connect with their language and heritage.
While this program is amazing, and the first of its kind in Winnipeg, it also comes at a time when Seven Oaks School Division is being forced to make some impossible decisions. Because of rising costs and inadequate funding from the Progressive Conservative government, Seven Oaks is being forced to cut programs and/or staff. While the government boasts about additional funding for Seven Oaks, the reality is that this funding falls short of inflation and increased enrollment and means that Seven Oaks will once again have to make cuts. The division is currently considering eliminating up to 50 teaching positions, ending after-school programs, cutting its learn-to-swim program and more.
We need an equitable education funding model that understands the challenges schools are currently facing. We need a funding model that funds programs to keep students engaged and learning across Manitoba. We need an education system which can help students grow and remain out of poverty for good. And we need to provide adequate and stable funding so that we can expand programs, such as the Punjabi bilingual program, which support our youth rather than being forced to make cuts to make ends meet.
The Manitoba NDP is working hard as the official Opposition to ensure the government is held accountable for its education cuts and the negative impact they have had on students and educators.
If you want to discuss the PCs’ detrimental approach to education, or if you or your family need assistance, or have any concerns that you would like to speak to me about, do not hesitate to contact our office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 204-417-3486.
The Maples constituency report
Mintu Sandhu is the NDP MLA for The Maples.