On April 5, 2017, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced Bill 63, Education Amendment Act
that proposes changes to the Education Act, 1995
. It has been forwarded to the Human Services Legislative Committee for discussion. As citizens with a vested interest in how education is delivered in our province, I want to draw your attention to two things highlighted in the government's news release after the bill was presented in the legislature.
Below are portions of the release and information I think is relevant for your consideration.Read the complete news releaseSee Bill 63, Education Amendment Act
Over the years, our school division (and many others across the province) have worked hard to realize efficiencies in the these and many other areas: we are part of a province-wide purchasing group; we partner with three other divisions for transportation; we have vibrant Catholic School Community Councils; and we regularly report to the minister in a variety of ways, including student success and finances.
Through these and other measures, the sector has achieved a savings of $20 million in the last two school years. We support enhanced collaboration and efficiency within the sector, and we will continue to work with our sister boards to achieve additional efficiencies.
However, we believe "shifting control" to the Minister of Education is contrary to the intent of the resounding feedback during the recent education governance review. An overwhelming majority of citizens made it clear that we—you
—support democratic principles of locally-elected Boards of Education to represent your needs and the needs of your children.
Moving items from legislation to regulation may add flexibility for the minister to respond to changes in the sector, but it also removes transparency and accountability for the government. Changes to regulations do not have to be openly debated on the floor of the legislature like legislation does. It is troubling that the government is seeking increased control while at the same time decreasing transparency and accountability to the people of Saskatchewan.
While these changes would maintain elected boards, they would restrict our resources and decision making ability. We would maintain responsibility and accountability to you, the electorate, but be stripped of the autonomy and authority to make the best decisions for the people we are elected to represent.What you can do
My fellow trustees and I believe that boards should continue to be your voice for education, not the face of education. We ask that you once again add your voice—stand up for education in your community and stop Bill 63. Don't leave it up to the government and the Minister of Education to make decisions that directly affect your school, your classroom, your students.
Once again, I humbly ask for your prayers as we navigate through change together.
May God continue to bless us,
Diane Boyko, Board of Education Chair
Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools