Winnipeg school division breaks angry sweat as province funds new rural gym – Manitoba

A school trustee is accusing the government of pandering to rural voters after it granted a small town provincial funds for a new gym while denying a similar request from a much larger Winnipeg school.

“There is a double standard being applied here and quite frankly it just looks like a cynical pork barrel-style politics from the [Progressive] Conservatives,” Mark Wasyliw, a trustee with the Winnipeg School Division, told CBC News.

“They are rewarding loyal rural constituencies that vote for them and punishing inner-city Winnipeg ridings that don’t.”

The previous NDP government had promised the school division and Kelvin High School funding for a new $6.7-million, 1,600-square-metre gym in 2014. Parents raised $1.2 million toward construction costs through various campaigns.

Kelvin parents learned in March the gym, as well as a sports field at Dakota Collegiate, would no longer receive provincial funds because “the cupboard is bare,” Wasyliw said. Students spoke out at a protest in April outside the Manitoba Legislature.

And on Tuesday, the Pallister government announced it would kick in $4.5 million for a new gym at W.C. Miller Collegiate in Altona. The school, located about 90 kilometres south of Winnipeg, is part of the Border Land School Division.

Roughly 400 students attend W.C. Miller, while 1,400 attend Kelvin.

Province pleased to fund W.C. Miller build

“Young Manitobans need quality learning environments to succeed in school,” Manitoba Education Minister Ian Wishart said in a statement. “This includes spaces where students can experience the benefits of sport, physical activity and recreation. We are pleased to support this much-needed gymnasium addition for students of Miller, their families and members of the community to enjoy.”

‘The existing gym at W.C…

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