Alberta’s public schools boards should have greater autonomy, says the education minister.
“I was disappointed by the erosion of board autonomy over the past years, and as minister of education, I look forward to working with you to strengthen that board autonomy,” Adriana LaGrange told the Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta’s spring general assembly in Red Deer on Saturday.
Association president Cathy Hogg said she believes the Red Deer-North MLA understands the concerns of school board trustees.
“I think a lot of what she said resonated with our members in terms of supporting local autonomy. She is a previous trustee and definitely knows the great importance of that to all of us as trustees,” she said.
LaGrange said her top priority is to make sure Alberta’s education system “lives up the high expectations of our students and their families.”
“I am committed to listening to all our education stakeholders,” she said, adding she will visit every school board in the province later this year.
The Education Act is “back on the order paper” this week, added LaGrange.
“While the bulk of the Education Act, this foundational document meant to modernize the Schools Act, is the same, I will be bringing forward some amendments to encompass today’s realities,” she said, adding the act is expected to come into force this upcoming school year.
Hogg said she’s hopeful LaGrange seeks feedback from trustees when those amendments come.
LaGrange said she knows school board trustees are concerned with funding and budgets as well.
“If I could share more information, I would. As soon as I have that information, I absolutely will,” she said to the dozens in attendance.
“Our government has set education as a funding priority and we will continue to build new schools.”
The government has “hit pause” on a curriculum review, she added.
Hogg said she’s excited to work with LaGrange in the coming years.
“I think she is going to continue to work with the Public Schools Boards’ Association going forward. We’re there to support her, for sure,” said Hogg.