Education review to look at reducing, eliminating elected boards

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is looking at reducing or even eliminating elected school boards as part of a review of education in the province.

The Progressive Conservative government announced a commission Wednesday that will examine all aspects of schooling from kindergarten to Grade 12 and report back by February of next year. Part of the focus will be on improving literacy and graduation rates and boosting math and science scores.

Another part of the group’s mandate will be to consider reducing the number of school divisions across the province. There are six English-language divisions in Winnipeg alone.

“I think we have 290 school trustees involved with running our divisions and our schools. I’d need to be convinced that that’s the right number,” Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said.

“So it will be the mandate to look at potential consolidation of school divisions.”

The Nova Scotia government eliminated elected school boards last year and replaced them with a 15-member provincial advisory council. Goertzen said that idea is not off the table.

“Do you have less school divisions? Do you have school divisions at all? And the answers to those questions are important to determining how you pay for the system.”

The commission will be co-chaired by Clayton Manness, who cut school funding as education minister in the 1990s, and Janice MacKinnon, a former Saskatchewan finance minister who balanced the provincial budget in the mid-1990s.

The opposition parties said the makeup of the commission, which also includes human resources specialists, a retired principal and others, shows the government is focused more on cutting spending than improving the education system.

“There aren’t any … parents, there are no teachers, there is nobody who seems to have actual experience in K-to-12 education on the commission,” Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said.

“But we do have Clayton Manness … and he was a minister of education known for cuts.”

Manness said the commission is not starting its work with any predetermined outcomes and there will be public consultations.

The Manitoba School Board Association said it is open to changes, but feels having local, elected school boards gives residents in each community a say in how schools are run.

“The prospect of diminishing that opportunity for local voice in the direction of public education … will not lead to improvements in the delivery or the outcomes,” association president Alan Campbell said.

The commission will not examine the funding formula for education. Manitoba currently uses a combination of provincial funding and local property taxes for its school system.

Any changes to the funding formula will only be considered after the commission issues its report, Goertzen said.

Just Posted

Red Deer would be the site of potential TV show

A potential TV show aims to bring Red Deer kids across the… Continue reading

Oilsands firms considering diluent recovery units to boost crude-by-rail volumes

CALGARY — Ongoing pipeline project delays and growth in crude-by-rail capacity from… Continue reading

Ex-Eskimos CEO gets new job among flurry of Alberta government appointments

Ex-Eskimos CEO gets job among flurry of appointments EDMONTON — Len Rhodes,… Continue reading

State of mind to be key issue in Alek Minassian trial, judge says

TORONTO — The trial of a man accused of killing ten people… Continue reading

WATCH: ‘Lots to see and do’ at Pioneer Days in Red Deer

Sunnybrook Farm Museum is celebrating its 24th annual Pioneer Days this weekend.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Thursday The Red Deer and District Garden Club hosts its annual Flower… Continue reading

Red Deer Braves knock off undefeated Saskatoon Cubs at 18U AAA Westerns

Braves lefty Reese DeRuyter throws a complete game, one-hitter in the victory

Two men seriously injured after small plane crashes in Alberta field

BLACK DIAMOND, Alta. — Two people were injured in a plane crash… Continue reading

Two young girls dead after collision in Manitoba, RCMP say

DAUPHIN, Man. — RCMP say two young girls are dead after a… Continue reading

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is condemning violence in Hong… Continue reading

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

OTTAWA — Emotions ran free in Ottawa Saturday as the more than… Continue reading

Liberals unveil $3B sole-source deal for armoured vehicles ahead of election

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government has unveiled plans to award a… Continue reading

85-year-old, lifting since 1950, on track to cinch weightlifting championship

MONTREAL — Olympic-style weightlifting isn’t just about strength or power. It’s about… Continue reading

Most Read