Report foresees changes for school boards

Saskatchewan Rivers School Division Board chair Barry Holllick. File photo.

A report on Saskatchewan’s school boards landed on Education Minister Don Morgan’s desk Wednesday. It envisions four different futures for the province’s 18 public boards, from total consolidation to a modest rejigging of the status quo.

Morgan announced a new panel, led by Saskatoon Public Schools Board Chair Ray Morrison, to consider the options.

The NDP has already criticized the process, saying it failed to consider fixes for the current system and lacked meaningful consultation. Barry Hollick, board chair of the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division, also has concerns about some of the options. He wonders whether they leave a place for elected trustees.

The report, authored by former top bureaucrat Dan Perrins, considers ways to restructure school board governance. The current system, Perrins writes, has unclear lines of accountability – with trustees responsible to their constituents, but also taking policy direction from the Ministry. Perrins also looked at ways to reduce costs and encourage shared services.

He came up with four options. The first is the most radical: replace 18 boards, responsible for 606 schools, with a single province-wide authority. Elections would be difficult, Perrins said, so members would most likely be appointed by government.

The second option repeats the same basic idea, but divides the single authority into four separate regional boards.

Options three and four (technically 3A and 3B) try to keep school boards closer to the communities they serve, while taking account of changing population patterns.

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