REGINA – Some of the concerns school boards in Saskatchewan brought forward about a bill to change legislation governing education have been addressed in amendments made at the committee stage.
In particular, Bill 63, The Education Amendment Act, 2017, no longer repeals sections about board rights and responsibilities from legislation into regulations. The revised bill also clarifies language about the local election of trustees. Those had been among concerns identified by school boards.
“We appreciate that the government listened to boards and the public and has now made some amendments to Bill 63,” said Dr. Shawn Davidson, president of the SSBA. “Trustees are elected to be the voice of public education and we think it is vital those roles and responsibilities are preserved in law.”
While those issues have been addressed with the new changes, there remains concern for boards about Bill 63 and the implications of some of its other clauses. Much work is ahead as boards seek to collaborate with the government about the future of the province’s education system.
“The SSBA is calling for a full review of The Education Act, 1995, with the goal of having an updated piece of legislation that truly reflects the needs of the province going forward,” Davidson said. “We would like to see an entirely new act, developed based on collaboration, introduced next year.”
Meanwhile, dealing with significant funding shortfalls continues to be the focus for boards throughout the province as they look toward the upcoming school year. Boards believe all children should have the resources they need to succeed, regardless of where they live or their personal circumstances.
“We are pleased that Bill 63 did not go ahead as originally proposed and we thank the public for adding their voice on that important topic,” said Davidson. “We need communities to continue to stand up for investment in our education system and its importance to the future of our province.”