“They can say they have increased spending. They did, but [it`s] very tiny,” she said in an interview with Thompson Citizen on June 8. It does not cover inflation, it does not cover rising costs. Look at the hydropower in Thompson. Schools must cover hydropower. Winnipeg teachers held a similar rally on May 25, against the provincial government`s two-year pay cut for public sector employees and their move to eliminate individual school districts that negotiate their teacher salaries and move on to provincial collective bargaining. Norm Gould, president of the Manitoba Teachers` Society (MTS), said centralized collective bargaining does not work in a province like Manitoba, where every school district has unique needs. Halcrow added that district budgets for salaries and school supplies are shrinking, but class sizes are growing, meaning that students with special needs are at risk of getting lost in the mix. “We are investing $1.323 billion in public school departments for 2018-19 and increasing funding for the intensive support quota for newcomers from $60,000 to $100,000,” he wrote. “These investments support our school services with an increase of $6.6 million, and include a 7.4 percent increase – an increase of $2.295 million – for [the) mystery school division.” Cathy Pellizzaro, president of the Thompson Teachers` Association (TTA), also noted that school curricula and staff are also suffering from insufficient funding, which is why the district is eliminating department heads, full-time kindergartens and teacher librarians, both at the elementary and high school levels. As some essential resources are no longer available, teachers` teaching capacity and learning ability are limited, says Carolyn Halcrow, an R.D. Parker Collegiate English teacher. “I know there are no teachers or employees or schools in this city who have not fed hungry children,” she said.
“Teachers personally take the bills for thieves for those who need them, and schools are asked to do more with less dollars.” While many of these issues need to be resolved either through ongoing lobbying or at the urn in 2020, Gould said Manitoba unions are currently taking the Conservative government to court for their two-year wage freeze, which many union leaders see as a violation of their right to collective trade. “We`ve had an influx of immigration to Thompson and elsewhere in Manitoba,” she said. “What does this mean for education? This means that schools have a population of learners whose first language is not English, and these people need other types of resources and programming than the mainstream. According to the handful of people who spoke in public at the rally, much of their anger against the province is due to the fact that, over the past two years, the increase in funds has been below the rate of inflation. Although he did not attend the rally, Thompson MLA Kelly Bindle used his latest column in the MLA report of June 8 to raise many criticisms of the Progressive Conservative government. Gould said the judge in the case is expected to deliver a verdict in July. “We are the last province to do something close to that number, even remotely,” he said in a May 18 interview with the citizen. “There is a lot of time to do 38 times what is not productive, and the government has to do it. We think it will be a win-win situation for everyone, both for the government and for the teachers themselves. While aware of these increases, Pellizzaro said the government still does not retain certain variables. “The priorities of a Thompson teacher are very different from the priorities of Winnipeg, for example, and those who teach in Virden as well,” he said.