2023 Provincial General Election
The election is scheduled to take place on October 3, 2023.
Prior to this election, a Provincial Forum on Education was held on March 17, 2023 and was co-hosted by Manitoba’s five public education partners, including (in alphabetical order) the Manitoba Association of Parent Councils, the Manitoba Association of School Business Officials, the Manitoba Association of School Superintendents, the Manitoba School Boards Association and the Manitoba Teachers’ Society.
The forum moderator was Michele Polinuk, retired Superintendent of the Lord Selkirk School Division and a valued member of the Interlake community.
Representatives from each Manitoba political party (in alphabetical order by surname: Mr. Nello Altomare, Manitoba New Democratic Party; Mr. Wayne Ewasko, Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party; and Dr. Jon Gerrard, Manitoba Liberal Party) were provided with two minutes to respond to each question, with rebuttals of one minute each.
Additionally, the party representatives were also provided two minutes each to make an opening and closing statement.
The Forum included five questions, each developed by one of the co-hosts, as follows (in order of appearance during the forum):
For many years, MSBA and community partners have agreed that protecting fiscal autonomy for local school boards has remained an important guiding principle. Everyone from municipalities to chambers of commerce agree that it remains absolutely critical that boards have discretion to support programs that are tailored to the needs and character of their community.
In 2023, the Manitoba Government announced a further step towards repealment of education property taxes. With this step, our long advocated for split of revenue share is now fact, with twenty percent of operating funding still coming from community investment in their schools. If elected as Government, will you protect fiscal autonomy for all school boards and what are your plans for ensuring that the local voices elected to Manitoba’s school boards are able to fund local choices to meet the needs of their students?
The public school system continues to navigate the many ongoing impacts of the pandemic while also responding to other societal and economic pressures:
- demographic dynamics
- growing economic distress and
- declining mental health.
The school system needs stability, certainty, and predictability.
Which three (3) priorities would be foundational to you as we respond to the public-school system’s greatest areas of need?
- How would these priorities be identified?
- What would the process moving forward include?
- Please elaborate on the specific ideas that you feel would add stability, certainty and predictability.
The shortage of certified substitutes was perhaps the most understated crisis in public education until the Covid –19 pandemic brought it into the spotlight.
Post-pandemic, the need for certified substitutes has grown as teachers struggle with crushing workloads and increased stress, resulting in absences.
The lack of certified substitutes also means a loss of prep time and the ability to participate in professional learning and development.
Put simply, certified substitute teachers are an essential part of education. What is your plan for ensuring a healthy supply of certified substitute teachers in Manitoba?
Many school buildings across the Province were built to meet the needs of an education system from several generations in the past. On-going needs to maintain and improve this aged infrastructure continue to increase to meet modern requirements relating to accessibility, quality learning environments and expanded child care spaces. What is your party's plan to address current and growing deficits in capital support to school divisions without negatively impacting adequate and sustainable operating funding?
Section 4.1 of the Education Administration Act serves to recognize MAPC as the legal representative of English school-based parent groups in Manitoba, including parent advisory councils and parent councils.
Nevertheless, in 2019 the legally mandated annual meeting between the Minister of Education and MAPC was stricken from the Public Schools Act, without consultation.
Further, when speaking with parents and parent groups, we know that the relationship between parents, schools and communities has deteriorated, notwithstanding the 2005 document “School Partnerships, A Guide for Parents, Schools and Communities”. This resource provided important guidance to these partners in how to work together.
In view of the importance of promoting and protecting parents voice in public education, should your party become elected or re-elected to serve as Government, what steps will you take to support the role of MAPC in representing parent councils and parent advisory councils, as well as the parent voice? How will your Government honour MAPC’s legal status and recognition going forward?