Sask. ponders options for education reform

A report delivered to Saskatchewan Education Minister Don Morgan this month suggests three main options for education governance structure in the province.

Dan Perrins, a long-time civil servant now retired, was tasked with examining K-12 governance with a view to meeting two key provincial targets: reducing the difference in graduation rates between aboriginal and non-aboriginal students by 50 percent by 2020 and leading the country in Grade 12 graduation rates by the same year.

Perrins’ options include consolidating the existing 18 public school boards into a single board that would manage all 606 public schools, a regional model of four boards and a divisional model similar to what exists now but perhaps with different boundaries to reflect changing demographics.

Saskatchewan already has the lowest number of boards in Western Canada, but also has the lowest number of students at about 176,300.

The report noted that although Perrins didn’t conduct formal consultations, he did meet with 32 stakeholders, including boards, teachers and the general public.

His report notes he heard unanimous support to maintain elected boards as the most effective way for local voices to be heard, and for no further amalgamation.

The boards were last amalgamated in 2006.

A six-member panel will now formally consult on the options and report back to the government by the end of January.

The panel includes board chairs Ray Morrison (Saskatoon) and Duane Favel (Ile a la Crosse), former Southeast Cornerstone board member Janet Foord, Prairie Valley School Division director of education Ben Grebinski, former deputy minister to the premier Doug Moen, and Leanne White from the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation.

The public can find the report and participate in the consultation online at www.saskatchewan.ca/government/public-consultations/share-your-thoughts-on-the-k-12-education-governance-review.

Submissions are due by Jan. 23 and all responses will be posted online after the process ends.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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