• Bill 63: Education Amendment Act

    Dear parents/guardians;

    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 release
    See Bill 63, Education Amendment Act

    "The amendments to The Education Act, 1995 (the Act) will result in shifts in governance intended to allow for the implementation of a sector purchasing and services initiative to achieve efficiencies in the areas of transportation, bulk purchasing and having a common salary grid for senior school division administrators; standardizing board member costs; reinforcing the value of school community councils as a vital part of school division governance; and providing the Minister with oversight on student success targets and financial decisions."

    "Numerous sections pertaining to the boards of education duties, powers, and responsibilities as well as school divisions administrative matters have been repealed from the Act and will be moved into regulations which will be drafted with input from the education sector."

    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.

    ​- Add your voice on social media using hashtags:
    - Let your MLA know that education belongs to the community, not the ministry
    ​- ​A list of MLA​s is at http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/mlas/

    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



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