School boards ‘fundamental’

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I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the column printed Saturday, April 23 entitled “Is Province headed towards one school board”.

In the article, Andy Walker indicated that the school board governance review will result in a “superboard” and that both myself, and Premier Robert Ghiz, are “lukewarm to the idea that the one ‘superboard’ would be elected.”

He continued to write that educational policy would be “decided by an unelected, unaccountable group hand-picked by government”.

It is unfortunate the author chose to weigh into a debate to which he has clearly paid little or no attention. In place of journalistic speculation, I would like to offer the following facts:

On April 19 in the Provincial Legislative Assembly, I clearly stated that where our public education is concerned we will continue to respect the elected model of governance and seek ways to strengthen the elective process and allow Islanders to get more engaged in the roles and responsibilities of a trustee.

On April 20, I again indicated that our government respects the elected process and will continue to strengthen the elected process.

Our government is not only in favour of elected school boards, but we see them as a fundamental component of our public education system.

We are concerned that voter turnout for school board elections since 1996 have been on average approximately only three per cent.

We are also interested in looking at roles, responsibilities and policy frameworks as they relate to the various stakeholders.

So, there is much work to be done and we trust that the best way to create a new model is to have an external commission consult with Islanders.

I hope this clears up any uncertainty.

Doug Currie

Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development

Organizations: Islanders, Provincial Legislative Assembly

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