Published on April 29, 2013
AVRSB chairwoman Lavinia Parrish Zwicker during an April 29 board meeting on the school review process.
Published on September 26, 2013
Published on September 25, 2013
Published on September 07, 2013
Jody Frowley, Kings West PC candidate
Published on October 01, 2013
By John DeCoste
Funding and potential amalgamation of school boards has become an election issue in Kings County.
The Kings County Advertiser/Register featured a story with Annapolis Valley Regional School Board officials in the Oct. 1 edition. Now we’re asking the candidates to weigh in on the issue.
Kings South NDP candidate Ramona Jennex remains Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development until Nova Scotians go to the polls.
“What the government has to do is to work with school boards and the community to determine what best serves the community’s needs. That’s always been our government’s mandate,” Jennex said.
She added that there has been a serious decline in enrollment in some areas across the province, which the government will need to explore.
Jennex said the Dexter government looked at the issue of funding “based on the needs of students, and changed the funding formula to make sure it was fair and equitable to all students and all boards.”
This change has begun, she said, but it’s not complete.
“It will probably take three years to be fully implemented. The only targeted funding is for special education, which is over and above regular funding levels,” she said.
The PC party promises to reduce the number of school boards from eight to four.
“When our platform refers to a ‘school board’, we’re referring to not just elected board members, but to all the people who aren’t in classrooms as well,” said Kings West PC candidate Jody Frowley.
The PC plan would consolidate school board administration, giving “more control” to local communities through enhanced School Advisory Councils and other community and school-based groups.
Frowley admitted that as a school board employee with staff under him, the proposed changes are “not something I’m necessarily jumping up and down about,” but believes “it’s going to be in the best interests of our students and classrooms.”
The PCs also want to introduce five-year funding agreements in both education and health. This “will provide more certainty, both for the government and for the departments.”
Kings North Liberal candidate Stephen Pearl is a former teacher and school administrator.
Pearl said the Liberals “are not looking to eliminate elected school boards.” Rather, the plan is “to look at some shared services at the administrative level.”
He suggested that school boards are “like any business. The more you can look at cost-sharing, the more potential there is for cost-saving.”
The Liberals, according to Pearl, will also focus on putting $65 million in additional funding into education, specifically directed towards supporting students and teachers.
“We believe the future of our province is in well-educated young people who can contribute to a stronger Nova Scotia,” he said.
As well, Pearl pointed out, “we haven’t had a curriculum review in Nova Scotia for 25 years.”
The Liberals, he said, would undertake such a review to help students better achieve success.
Kings West Green Party candidate Barbara Lake says she doesn’t believe the number of school boards across the province need to be addressed.
“I’m of the opinion that no changes be made to school boards, and I wouldn’t personally support a move in that direction. Local governance of a local school board is able to better determine the needs of local schools and local students.”
Lake points out that “the Green Party position is that education is not the place to look for cuts.”
The party also feels “new technology has to be paired with professional development for teachers, to help them get the most out of the technology for their students.”