Reducing Taxes and Improving Quality of Education in MB
May 7 2016 – Kevin Yaworski
Updated June 2016: Response from staff member on behalf of Deputy Minister’s Education stated more consolidation so slighly less school boards then I stated below. That they permitted to spend up to 3.5% of budget on administration (they are slightly below this and lower than other provinces). Ignored the outrageous and unsustainable salaries, pensions and benefits mentioned and still room to consolidate more.
Looking at education issues in MB and one quickly sees that having 54 separately administered School Divisions and Boards is a big part of the problem.
Several of these are top heavy, bloated and have out of control spending as we will learn more about below.
What is the total cost for these 54 School Divisions and Boards? How much funding is spent on administration and how much at the school level on actual education? We can look at some of this below.
With Manitoba having one of the worst education scores in Canada when kids tested it looks like not enough is being spent at the school level. Quality of education is higher in other parts of Canada that have larger population but a lot less School Divisions and Boards.
The Financial Reporting and Accounting in Manitoba Education (FRAME) Reports show expenditures on public education (K-S4) is over 2 billion.
The Manitoba Government directly funds a % of education. The remainder is covered by the school portion of property taxes set by local school boards.
The Provinces share of public-school financing has declined substantially for more than 25 years so property taxes have been going up. Higher than needed to by out of control school division and board administrative costs. The Manitoba Education property tax credit reduces City of Winnipeg Property tax but the MB government still pays this and more for education in MB. Where does the MB government gets this from? Mostly from the income taxes we pay so are we really getting a credit?
If education partly funded by the Province and several school divisions and boards have out of control spending. Is this part of the reason why Manitoba has over $20 Billion in net debt and has one of the highest income tax rates in Canada? The average 2 income family in MB would take home after income tax 4 – 8k more if they lived in some of the other Provinces with lower income taxes.
This makes it pretty clear what is being done in MB is obviously not working
Why don’t we fund schools, not boards, allow competition and fund based on performance like most private companies need to do to survive?
This sounds like common sense and is being done successfully in some of the other Provinces with higher education scores. Why are we not doing this in Manitoba?
Fund schools, not boards: Think-tank
Amalgamation of School Divisions
Each School Division has their own administration and associated costs which leads to a lot of redundant positions and part of the reason spending on Education in MB is out of control.
In July 2002, after consultations with the public, the Doer government reduced the number of school divisions in Manitoba from 54 to 37 as part of a broad-based amalgamation to try and reign in out of control spending, standardize eduction and improve results.
The original plan was to reduce from 54 to 13 as part of the suggests in the 1994 Norrie Commission and the official plan created and announced by the MB Education Minister 15 years ago in 2001. As follows: Rural 36 to 8, Northern 8 to 1, Wpg from 9 to 3. Fraco-Manitobiane already has province wide mandate.
That would have meant they reduced by 41 to a more reasonable and affordable 13 but they only reduced to 37 so there is still a lot of redundant positions and inefficiencies.
Reducing even more would allow more funding at the school level to improve education as well as allow a reduction in property and income taxes which would benefit the economy.
Why did they not complete the amalgamation plans to reduce from 37 to 13? Can they reduce to even less than 13 to reduce taxes, increase funding at the school level and improve education so we are not one of the worse in Canada?
Not convinced or you want more facts to help decide?
Several School Boards and Districts out of control
In 2013 public records and the media reported bureaucrats at the largest school division in MB Winnipeg School Division (WSD) were raking in the bucks with pay raises as high as 26% over the previous two years, while school trustees demanded taxpayers dig even deeper into their already empty pockets for another round of property tax hikes that year.
Similar has happened and is being asked by other school divisions and boards.
At the time WSD’s chief superintendent Pauline Clarke was the highest paid bureaucrat at the division. She took home $198,071 in pay in 2011, up a staggering 16.2% over what she got 2 yrs earlier in 2009.
To put this into perspective, her pay in 2011 was 39% more than what former premier Greg Selinger made that year which was $142,071. WSD assistant secretary-treasurer Tom Bobby was making the same as the premier.
Worse yet WSD was and may still be employing five high-paid superintendents — a chief superintendent and four area superintendents — on top of an army of directors, managers and consultants.
Why have taxpayers been paying these high salaries at a cost of over 1/2 a Million $ per year and that just WSD? What about overall in the Province, how many redundant high paying school board and division jobs are there? What about when you included the many lower paid jobs that are also redundant?
Other salary raises at WSD of 16% and 19% over two years? What are the other divisions like? I don’t know too many teachers getting annual raises of even 8% and 9%. Many members of the public only get enough to cover inflation if that.
Add to this the tax payer paid pension contributions of for these high paid positions and for the other redundant positions and you see why there isn’t enough going to the schools and actual education.
What are the impacts of this other than giving MB one of the worst education scores in Canada?
Why when you talk to many teachers is it the school division and boards that are the biggest road block? Whether it be not listening to what will make a difference in the class room or curriculum or adequate funding at the school level.
Many schools rely on their own fund raising to do some field trips and even some in school activities. This works fine in higher income areas but not so in lower income areas and it puts stress on the teachers and leaves the kids disadvantaged.
How often do these high paid decision makers at the School Divisions and Boards actually go into the classrooms and see what is going on and talk to the teachers there?
A provincially commissioned report released last summer by John Wiens, dean emeritus of the faculty of education at the U of M, described the behaviour of Winnipeg School Division trustees as “embarrassing, shameful, and reckless,” as well as “extremely detrimental to the division and the very idea of boards of trustees.”
Here is an interesting article that sheds some light of the current issues with School Boards, why they still needed and what needs to be done to fix the issues with them.
Manitoba School Boards Need Leadership, Says Professor
Why are the Trustee or Superintendent salaries and pensions and other administrative costs out of control?
Manitoba School Board Trustees are elected and the Boards control the school tax portion of property taxes.
Is it the lack of accountability, transparency and self serving interests?
The Manitoba Association of School Boards who look after Trustees does NOT support restoring taxation control back to the Province.
Are they trying to falsely justify it and overlooking the fact their out of control spending and poor results are unsustainable?
What can you do to help Lowe taxes and improve education in Manitoba?
Share this important information online and by word of mouth.
Reducing Taxes and Improving Quality of Education in MB
Contact our new Minister of Education firstname.lastname@example.org and your MLA and ask them about these important facts and questions. Ask what they plan to do to improve education and reduce taxes. Let them know this rate of spending with poor results is unsustainable and many tax payers are nearly broke.
Sources and Related info:
What the trustees spend on themselve
Manitoba School Divisions & Districts and Board Contacts
Funding of Schools in Manitoba:
REFORMS TO FUNDING EDUCATION IN FOUR CANADIAN PROVINCES
Manitoba’s credit rating downgraded due to growing debt
Government debt in canada set to top 1.3 trillion in 2016
For more shocking info on WSD salaries and raises read full article from 2013:
Their source was publicly available reports.
Fat-cat bureaucrats at Manitoba’s largest school division are raking in the bucks with pay raises as high as 26% over the past two years, while school trustees demand taxpayers dig even deeper into their pockets for another round of property tax hikes this year.
School trustees at the Winnipeg School Division keep telling us they have no choice but to jack up taxes every year in order to preserve important educational programs for kids.
This year the division is considering a property tax increase of 6.8%. The proposed hike comes on the heels of a 7.8% property tax increase last year. And while some of that money will go towards teachers’ salaries and other legitimate cost increases, it will also go towards paying the skyrocketing salaries of senior bureaucrats at the division.
WSD’s chief superintendent Pauline Clarke is the highest paid bureaucrat at the division. She took home $198,071 in pay in 2011, up a staggering 16.2% over what she got in 2009.
Superintendent of inner-city schools Karen Seiler — representing one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the province — got a mind-boggling raise of 26.1% over the past two years, cashing in a paycheque worth $138,938 in 2011.
And these bureaucrats try to tell us with a straight face that they have no choice but to jack up our taxes? Give me a break.
Just to put the chief superintendent’s salary into perspective, she is paid 39% more than the premier of Manitoba. Premier Greg Selinger was paid $142,071 in 2011.
In fact, the division’s assistant secretary-treasurer — yes, “assistant’ — is paid about the same as the premier of Manitoba. Go figure.
Assistant secretary-treasurer Tom Bobby made just a little bit more than Selinger in 2011 at $142,502.
What’s incredible is that the division still employs five high-paid superintendents — a chief superintendent and four area superintendents — on top of an army of directors, managers and consultants.
Do taxpayers really need to pay for five superintendents at the Winnipeg School Division?
Meanwhile, where do these pay raises come from, anyway?
Seriously, raises of 16% and 19% over two years? I don’t know too many teachers getting annual raises of 8% and 9%.
The reality is, the division has done nothing to curb its growing bureaucratic costs. Senior administrators happily give themselves outrageous wage increases and then cry poverty, claiming they’re not getting enough tax dollars from property owners.
They’re actually talking about raising property taxes in this division by a stunning 14.6% over two years. Where do they think average taxpayers will get that money from? Sorry, but most of us aren’t getting 16.2% pay raises over two years, Ms. Clarke. Maybe you can afford a 14.6% property tax hike. But it’s a bit out of range for your average working-class stiff trying to pay the bills and keep up with other rising costs.
These guys are completely out of control. They have the delegated authority from the Selinger government to jack up taxes every year and they face no repercussions for it.
Education Minister Nancy Allan throws her hands in the air and claims there’s nothing she can do about it. She says school divisions have the authority to jack up taxes if they want. Actually, Ms. Allan, that legislative authority comes from you.
Meanwhile, the little guy with the $125,000 home gets shafted with another higher tax bill.
And what does that taxpayer get in return for paying the school division more money at triple the rate of inflation? The worst or 2nd last ranking in all subjects compared to the 9 other Provines.
What an absolute sham.
Time to get the Province o force restraint on the Schoolboards and cut admin staff, salary, Pension benefits contributions until in line with Canadian average.