The Government of Saskatchewan recently released a study commissioned from Dan Perrins called Educational Governance Review Report, Kindergarten to Grade 12. The first 21 pages of the report are pretty straightforward: there’s a need in Saskatchewan to centralise administration for our dozen-and-a-half school divisions, and to ensure school boards are using best practices for efficient, responsible, transparent educational governance. Centralised administration would be a blessing as there is no one system used across school divisions for things like student records, course offerings, etc.. Shared administration is often a great cost-saving measure, provided it’s done in full consultation with the people who’re going to be using it and depending on it.
Except for the part where the document talks about replacing elected school boards with boards appointed directly by government. That’s just a bad idea all around. Where’s the local representation? Where’s the local accountability?
The rest of the document outlines four options the Government of Saskatchewan might consider going forward. Each of those four options is predicated on school division amalgamation. Amalgamation blows. The last time we went through a round of amalgamation (2006), we lost a number of rural schools (actually, we didn’t *lose* them; they’re just closed, which means people won’t stay in those towns or move to those towns). The process was time-consuming, extremely costly, and it’s only been in the last 2-5 years that we’ve really been able to regain our focus on what’s most important in education: education and students.
Amalgamation doesn’t save a lot of money. Not the kind of money the SK Government is looking to save. It costs people their jobs, and it costs students. I’m sure there are horror stories about the 90 minutes students have to spend on the bus each day just to get to and from school. I know the last time we went through this, the upheaval was painful.
This time around, the government is looking for public input. But here’s the catch – you only have until 23 January. There’s a website and an email address (K12govconsultations@gov.sk.ca ) where you can send in your thoughts, and of course, preferably, you can write to your MLA. I did both – I wrote to my MLA and I sent in these comments to the public consultation email account.
Whether or not you agree with my position on what’s going on, please contact your MLA and send your thoughts about these proposed reforms to the public k-12 governance system.