Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC) and education directors from Manitoba First Nations met on April 3 and 4 for training, sharing, and discussion.
George Merasty, Finance Director for MFNERC, spent the first day of the meeting for education directors doing a finance training session. He covered topics such as staffing (salaries and budgets), costing for professional development, transportation budgets, and financing land-based education. He also took time to answer education director’s questions about funding, such as how to handle severance pay and how to handle staff leaving in the middle of a school year.
Leah Lazaruk, Education Director for Birdtail Sioux First Nation, said this of Merasty’s session: “I appreciate how George took apart the budget and was showing us how to deconstruct, analyze, and build a budget. It is a very useful training session …. It’s good for me because when I’m presented with a budget, I can analyze and dissect the budget and know what each formula is doing and why.”
Davin Dumas, representing the AMC Education Task Force, opened day two of the meeting with an open dialogue about the Regional Educational Agreement. He welcomed questions and comments from the directors about how this agreement will affect the present and future situation and what should be done.
Shirley Fontaine, Associate Executive Director of MFNERC, addressed the education directors on the federal budget which was tabled in the House of Commons on March 19, 2019. The budget includes 24 measures for Indigenous peoples, totalling $4.7 billion. More than $4.4 billion has been allocated for First Nations. Fontaine discussed what the budget means for Manitoba First Nations and their educational budget goals for the upcoming school year.
Presentations on MFNERC services such as Data Management, Programs, Special Education, and Research and Development rounded out the two-day meeting.
“It’s been a great experience,” summarizes Education Director Leah Lazaruk, “I was very comfortable approaching the speakers and asking questions and discussing with them budgetary concerns. It was a great networking opportunity as well. I’m able to collaborate with other First Nations education directors because of these meetings.”
The next Education Directors meeting is scheduled for May 2-3, 2019.
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