Manitoba’s School Board Amalgamations—Before and After

Publication, Education, Dennis Owens

Executive Summary

  • In 2001, Manitoba’s Minister of Education announced that the number of school boards in the province would be reduced from 54 to 37.
  • One of the main reasons given for the change was efficiency, that the reduction of unnecessary duplication would save up to $10 million.
  • Despite that prediction, overall spending by amalgamated school divisions has been greater than it was prior to amalgamation.
  • Administrative cost savings have been almost negligible, with reductions in the order of only 2.6%, or half a million dollars, in amalgamated school divisions.
  • A previous Frontier backgrounder, Amalgamating School Boards Not an Answer, had found virtually no correlation between school board size and per-pupil expenditures. This finding is confirmed in the analysis of post-amalgamation school division expenditures.
  • Upward wage harmonization and the equalization of working conditions are largely responsible for substantial increases in personnel costs in amalgamated school divisions.
  • The time and energy spent on the amalgamation process would have been better directed towards meaningful education reform.