Winnipeg School Division board approves 3.89% tax hike

Homeowners living within the boundaries of the Winnipeg School Division will soon be paying more in school taxes.

Monday night, the board of trustees approved a 3.89% increase when it approved the school division's budget.

The board said in a media release the increase works out to about $52 a year for a home valued at $203,900.

"The result is a collaborative budget that meets the education and support needs of Winnipeg School Division students while limiting the potential impact of increased property tax on home owners,"  said WSD Board of Trustees chair Sherri Rollins in the release.

The school division will spend $406,594,200 next year, with teaching expenses making up 81% of the budget. The division employs 6,000 people and has 78 schools.

It said it will spend over $13 million from school tax revenue on community programs that are not provincially funded, which include: nursery, off-campus programs, therapy services, nutrition and summer school among others.

"The number of students diagnosed with autism who are entering Winnipeg School Division is continuing to rise," said Trustee Rollins. "To support these students, staff and families, we are pleased to allocate $350,000 for an autism early intervention team and autism assistive technology." 

The board also slashed spending by $1.1 million to reach a balanced budget. It made cuts to transportation costs, divisional operations and administration, and instruction. 

On Feb. 1, the Manitoba government announced a $13.1-million funding increase for public schools, which will keep the overall budget at about $1.3 billion.

That's a one per cent increase — slightly less than the rate of inflation, which the Bank of Canada reported was 1.1 per cent for Manitoba in 2016.

School taxes are going up across the city. The lowest bump is 2.7% for River East Transcona and the highest is 5.6% for St. James-Assiniboia.