We strongly believe that supporting quality public education is an investment in our community.
To that end, our Board of Trustees has once again developed a draft budget that continues to support our community of more than 14,500 learners, while being mindful of the impact on families and taxpayers in southwest Winnipeg.
As Pembina Trails continues to grow, our divisional spending must also increase to support a larger community with different needs. We are projecting a growth of roughly 400 students in 2019/20, many of whom are newcomers who often require additional supports to reach their full potential.
To foster an environment where all of our students can Accomplish Anything, we will need to hire additional staff. We plan to add 30 teachers to meet the needs of our community. We will place 10 resource teachers in our classrooms to work directly with students. The addition of resource teachers is a new approach which will be piloted in seven schools to enhance inclusion and support students with special needs, in particular.
Our budget also needs to factor in maintenance and ongoing improvements to our school buildings and school-based technology.
With the education review on the horizon, our Board is proud to demonstrate our fiscal responsibility while being committed to improving student results.
A $150,000 investment, for example, will enable us to use the cutting edge Watson technology to help us analyze and understand student performance data like never before. This in turn will help to guide decisions about literacy, numeracy, engagement and graduation. A new half-time research officer will work closely with the new technology and offer insights into the data.
Our largest source of funding, apart from school taxes, comes from the province of Manitoba. However, the projected increase in the Funding of School programs means that we will have to rely on our community for more financial support. Property taxes will increase by 0.4 per cent, meaning that the average homeowner with a house valued at $408,222 would see an increase of $9 for the year (75 cents per month) in school taxes.
We would like to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts during our recent budget online town hall and during our February 28, 2019 board meeting.