Trustees gauging support for school tax hike in Winnipeg School Division
Published Friday, December 7, 2018 8:20PM CST
The Winnipeg School Division Board of Trustees is hoping homeowners living within its boundaries are in a giving mood this holiday season.
The board is asking residents in a survey if they'd be willing to pay more taxes than the provincial government wants divisions to collect.
If residents don’t agree, trustees may have some difficult decisions to make come budget time.
“We’ve gone out and said this is what we’ll need to cut,” said school board trustee and finance committee chairperson Lisa Naylor. “They don’t want that and so we know we’re going to be faced with the exact same questions this year.”
Naylor said initiatives like school resource officers and the free nursery program could be affected.
As part of 2019/2020 budget consultations, residents are being asked if they’d support a property tax increase beyond a provincially-suggested cap of two per cent set last school year by then Education Minister Ian Wishart.
Naylor said it’s expected the increase will be needed in order to avoid cuts to programs.
“Really the only thing left is, will our community agree to increase property taxes to continue to fund these really critical programs that are not funded through the government education funds.”
In an emailed statement, current Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said, “We are planning a similar approach next year where we expect school divisions to manage their expenditures responsibly when they create their budgets and make decisions that best suit students’ needs and consider the impact on taxpayers.”
A spokesperson from the education department said the two per cent limit relates to the special requirement, which is the property tax required on a school-year basis from July to June.
The property tax bills that are sent to ratepayers may look different because they're on a calendar-year basis.