The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils (NLFSC) is calling on the new provincial government to move immediately on a promise to restore democratic principles to the governance of the NL District School Board by setting a date for the election of School Board of Trustees.
We feel that elections are vital to the restoration of autonomy and revitalization of schools. Local input and accountability ensures that civic oriented individuals with strong community ties are making decisions about our children’s education.
The election of school trustees is one of the core foundations of any public school system. It’s time to give parents and the public a say in who manages the education of their children.
Every School Council member, parent and teacher deserve to have a say on who is representing their educational concerns and advocating on their behalf.
A board of Trustees is accountable to the people they serve and they should be locally-elected representatives elected by the public, not imposed on them by government.
NLFSC has been concerned about the lack of democracy guiding the English School District ever since the announcement that all four English language school boards were being consolidated into one board three years ago.
Our concerns were publicly shared byother education stakeholders including the current Minister of Education, Dale Kirby in his previous role of Education Critic for both the NDP and Liberal Parties. Premier Ball identified the elections as one of the priorities for Mr, Kirby in a mandate provided to the minister when he was appointed in December.
There is no justification or acceptable reason that these elections should be further delayed. The election should be held as quickly as possible. It has already been delayed for far too long.
Kirby indicated that the a new Liberal government, if elected, would hold elections within a 12 months of seeking office. We feel that is too large a window considering that trustee elections are already three years over due.
The English District School Board's constitution has been approved and the zones for new trustees have been established, all that is missing here is for the minister to provide the green light for the process which should occur no later than this spring.
The last time we had school board trustees elections in Newfoundland and Labrador was in 2009.