The Sask. Party may have to slow down its drive for transformational change in Saskatchewan’s school boards.
The province began consultations following a December 2016 report that suggested amalgamating school boards and getting rid of elected trustees.
On Monday, Education Minister Don Morgan said one message has come through loud and clear in preliminary findings.
“The vast majority of the people that took the time to make the submissions were in favour of elected school boards and roughly in favour of the status quo,” he told 650 CKOM host Murray Wood.
Morgan said he phoned many of the 3,000 people who made submissions. He noted most didn’t necessarily know who their trustee was — but they still wanted elected boards.
“Most of them felt that was the thing they needed to hang onto, so they had local support (and) local input. They might not use it, but it was important to them to know that it was there,” he said.
Morgan said the findings would be part of a full report due in the next few months. He said the report will be presented at a Cabinet meeting where ministers will make the final decision.
The minister stressed that better serving the province’s 173,000 students would be the priority. He said cutting costs was also a consideration, given that paying Saskatchewan’s roughly 250 trustees costs just over $5 million a year.
“For that amount of money, we could fund two or three schools,” he said.
Even if the number and makeup of school boards stays the same, Morgan said they will be asked to find new ways to work together.
He mentioned sharing resources such as speech therapists and other specialists, getting together on purchasing orders and combining payroll operations as some options for how boards might operate more efficiently.