Budget battle between division and education minister gets personal
Published Thursday, March 14, 2019 11:30AM CST
Last Updated Thursday, March 14, 2019 6:47PM CST
The budget battle between the Winnipeg School Division and Manitoba’s education minister is getting personal.
On Monday the school board bowed to a provincial directive to cap a property tax hike or face a major administrative cut. Minister Goertzen has been critical of the division’s administrative wages, in particular the superintendent’s salary.
Board chair Chris Broughton tweeted this week about minister Goertzen.
“Minister of Education not only refuses to meet with the board now he sends his letters to Division staff not the Board or Chief Superintendent. First time ever. Is it us or our female CEO?” tweeted Broughton
When asked by someone online what he meant, Broughton tweeted this about Goertzen: “He seems to have an issue with female leadership in education,” replied Broughton
Goertzen then fired back on Twitter:
"Such a disgraceful comment," he tweeted.
And last week Broughton wrote this on Twitter: “Minister Goertzen appears to be obsessed with a female Chief Superintendent paid on par with her male counterparts in other large school divisions.”
CTV News spoke to Broughton in a phone interview about his tweets.
"I put that out there because we're starting to see a pattern of behavior from the minister's office," he said.
Goertzen says he has great respect for women who are leaders in education. He says he has raised the issue of salaries, on behalf of taxpayers, without even knowing who sits in the superintendent's position.
"The chair of the Winnipeg School Division is not only wrong, but probably isn't participating in the way politics should be participated in,” said Goertzen
Some of Goertzen’s colleagues came to his defence online, including Tory MLA Sarah Guillemard.
“Interesting that the chair of the WSD would use gender as a weapon as a means to distract from his lack of leadership. You set the bar very low for dialogue…thankfully @kelvin_goertzen is well equipped to deal with children,” tweeted Guillemard
Broughton stands by his tweets.
"Me calling out their behavior, something they might not like, but certainly something I will continue to do," said Broughton
Broughton is not offering an apology and Goertzen isn't looking for one.
“Ultimately these kinds of comments say more about the people who are making the comments than those who they're directed to,” said Goertzen