The Portage la Prairie School Division (PLPSD) finalized the budget for the 2024-25 school year at Tuesday's board meeting.

Superintendent Todd Cuddington caught up with PortageOnline to discuss the process. He explained that he is pleased with how everything has settled now that it has been completed.

"I think it was a very responsible budget, given that there are many uncertainties," says Cuddington. "We're in the midst of significant provincial negotiations with the Manitoba Teachers Society and the new government and some uncertainty around how our funding will look."

Trustees passed a 3.8 per cent increase in the Mill Rate educational property levy, resulting in a home valued at $250,000, looking at an increase of $51, and a farm valued at $1,000,000, looking at an increase of $117. The province has stated that the 50 per cent educational property tax rebate will continue for ratepayers this fiscal year. 

"This is just slightly above the rate of inflation heading into the 2024-25 year. We have been advised by the province that trustees should recognize that we are in an expensive time for families and that we should be aware of not putting a greater burden on ratepayers. I think our board was definitely aware of that and, at the same time, recognized that there were some important investments that needed to be made."

Cuddington calls it a very balanced budget, and like every year, there were some tough decisions.

"We always have to weigh the wish list, with wants versus needs. This year was no different than that. I think the biggest uncertainty on the horizon is really around staffing costs. We know that staffing costs take up about 83 per cent of our annual budget. Needless to say, when that portion is increasing, we have to increase costs for our taxpayers. We've tried to keep that to a reasonable amount this year."

The superintendent says virtually no changes have been made since they presented the budget to the public. He notes that he is happy to see the division prioritize accessibility, safety, and technology in this budget. 

2024-25 PLPSD $50,120,391 Revenue Budget Breakdown: 

  • Provincial - $27,830,492 
  • City and RM Property Taxes - $19,803,899 
  • First Nations - $2,250.000 
  • Other - $236,000