The funding Manitoba is making available for school safety amid the pandemic
WINNIPEG -- The provincial government has released details on how $52 million that has been made available to schools to help keep them safe throughout the pandemic will be allocated.
Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen made the announcement Monday morning.
Of the $52 million announced, $32 million will go towards school divisions and independent schools, while $12 million will be used for personal protective equipment and $8 million is being used as a safety net to deal with any urgent matters that go above the money for school divisions.
"It's important for them to know what the dollar figure would be available so that they could continue to not only have an assurance that they could make those expenditures, but have a clear line of sight in terms of what that money allocation would be for them," said Goertzen.
He added that school boards will have access to the funds once they use the $48 million that was saved from the previous school year.
"Now that (the school divisions) have what their specific allocation is, there's going to be, over the next two weeks, a better understanding of their accounts, their expenditures…It makes it easier for them to put forward a budget going forward based on the information they know now."
Goertzen said the money has been allocated based on a per-pupil maximum, meaning each division is getting money based on how many students are enrolled.
He also noted the province is getting $85.4 million in federal funds which will be directed towards education.
One of the priorities with the federal funds, according to Goertzen, will be to improve remote learning.
"It is really about enhancing the remote learning opportunities," said Goertzen. "We want to ensure that we can both lift the standard and make it more consistent across the province."
He said the resources throughout Manitoba aren't exactly the same for remote learning and so the government hopes to use the funding to help those who experienced struggles.
"So we are seeing remote learning in some cases is going very, very well, but as one would expect, as big geographical as Manitoba is, not everything is exactly the same," said Goertzen, who added they are hoping to make the transition from the classroom to at home as seamless as possible.
During a media availability Monday afternoon, Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew compared the government's announcement to a student showing up to school three weeks late and said the student would be considered a delinquent.
"What were they doing last March, what were they doing in June, what were they doing through the months of July and August, that they couldn't come up with these details," said Kinew.
He said he would support an investment to decrease class sizes to help further promote social distancing, but he said that wasn't even clear in the announcement.
He added that not only is the announcement late, but he also feels it is not complete.
"This province definitely needs to do a lot more."