Dear Parent/Guardian:

As the Chair of the Finance/Personnel Committee, I would like to thank the many parents and guardians who have provided feedback to the Board of Trustees over the past months of community consultations as we developed the WSD 2016/17 Budget.

While generally we do get some changes in the year, the City of Winnipeg has advised us that, due to a large number of mainly commercial property assessment appeals, there is a reduction in the property tax base of $158.6 million in our division. This is three times greater than the 2014 reassessment. When drafting the budget, we anticipate minor adjustments to the property tax base, but it is unprecedented that such a large reduction has occurred at such a critical stage of our budget development. Other Winnipeg-area school divisions are also experiencing an assessment decrease, although not to the extent of the impact on WSD.

For WSD this could result in a 6.4 percent tax increase (or an $80 annual increase on the average assessed home in WSD) in order to maintain the programs and services in the draft budget. The Board, however, is looking at all possible options to reduce the property tax increase without cutting programs.

I can assure you that the Finance/Personnel Committee will continue its deliberations taking into consideration the feedback you and other stakeholders have thoughtfully provided while being mindful of the property tax implications to homeowners. Our goal continues to be improving student success and maintaining programs and services in the final budget. The WSD Board of Trustees must submit its 2016 taxation request to the City of Winnipeg by March 15, 2016.

Yours truly,

Chris Broughton

Chair, Finance & Personnel Committee