Public input sought about changes to LPSD

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January 17, 2017 12:00 AM

WHICH WAY WILL WE GO? Lloydminster Public School Division's director of education, Todd Robinson and chair of the LPSD school board, David Thompson, held a media conference to discuss changes to Saskatchewan's educational system last week. JAIME POLMATEER LLS PHOTO

The Saskatchewan Government is looking at making some changes to provincial school boards and the Lloydminster Public School Division’s (LPSD) board of education wants the public to make its opinions heard.
An education governance review report for kindergarten to Grade 12 education was conducted as part of the transformational change to education, something that’s been discussed since June’s provincial budget.
“We are ... holding a public consultation meeting on Wednesday at Jack Kemp School, beginning at 7 p.m,” said Todd Robinson, LPSD director of education.
“We’d certainly welcome any members of the public who have any questions or concerns about the governance report or their ability to engage in giving some feedback to the governance on ways to move forward.”
Dan Perrins, a long-time public servant with nearly 40 years of experience in the health, education and social services sector, wrote the review and came up with four different options.
Perrins suggested the following models as different ways to find what system of governance and administration is needed in the K-12 education sector, in order to achieve the outcomes established by Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth and the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP).
The options include a provincial model, which would consolidate 18 existing public boards of education into a single provincial public school board, with responsibility for management of all 606 public schools in the province—the public board would report to the Minister of Education.
“Now, an important point of distinction here is this review only pertains to public school divisions within the province, it does not deal with any separate school divisions within the province of Saskatchewan,” said Robinson.
“So option one is a provincial model with one school board.”
The second option is called a regional model, which would create four regional public boards of education, accountable to the Minister of Education.
Robinson said the idea would be to organize education based on a regional delivery, where there would be school boards established in portions of the province and they would deal with the delivery of service in that area.
The third option, a divisional model, would present less disruption to the educational system than the first two options, according to the report, and give the chance for choice in the way boards are selected, still resulting in some of the benefits as the provincial and regional models.
“The third option is a divisional model, with two kinds of sub-sets, one being a movement to try and get the number of school boards down between eight and 14 boards—apparently there are 18 public school boards—so this would be a reduction of anywhere from four to 10 boards less than there currently is,” Robinson said.
“Then the fourth model was really specific about some changes with boundaries around the cities of Saskatoon and Regina, some potential reorganization in the north, then dealing with some small single school divisions in Ile a La Crosse and Creighton—so those are the four models, obviously many of those models would impact LPSD in our situation here in the city.”
Robinson added at this point in the process the LPSD board of education is doing everything it can to advocate for the Border City and to make sure the city’s needs are taken care of.
The board hasn’t had the chance to present to the panel yet, and haven’t even had the chance to have the conversation amongst its own members, but Robinson is confident the board is most interested in preserving the status quo locally.
“A seamless delivery of services across the city of Lloyd, that regardless of whether you’re an Alberta or Saskatchewan resident, you can expect the same level of service at any public school across the city, and anything that would be proposed that would put that at risk, would be a significant concern,” he said.
“The other things we would have some concern about is the loss of local representation or local voice through an elected school board, so I think for us, those are the two big issues we see in a potential amalgamation or a potential change in governance.”

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