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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

fund-raising; they will liaise with people in the community; they would make suggestions and recommendations for the development of the school. Her interpretation of the regulations is correct. I am questioning whether these weak regulations should exist.

On the Minister’s own interpretation of the regulations, there is nothing that gives power over anybody to school boards. And you can see it; there are some strange amendments here to the Education Act, but the creation of local school boards has had no consequent effect on regulations concerning the duties of school supervisors or the duties of principals. This tells you that it is not really deep legislation; it is not getting into either administration or the quality of the education.

Mr. President, I find that there is no devolution; I find the overlap with the Parent Teachers’ Association potentially harmful and when I look at the regulations, there seems to be some ambiguity as to whether the people who are to be appointed to local school boards are required to be able to be in the region, or whether they should be people residing in the region. I would like to suggest to the Minister that if these proposals for local school boards should go forward, all members of the local school boards should “reside in” the district. It should be clear in the legislation that they should reside—not be able to come by taxi or Mercedes Benz. Members of the school board should reside in the area.

There is potential confusion. There are 477 primary schools of which 136 are government; there are 46 traditional secondary schools of which 17 are government; and there are 54 secondary schools in the new sector all of which are government. So 136 plus 54 is 190 plus 17, I think that is 207. There are 207 schools. I want to know if each of those 207 schools is going to have a local school board. Where are we getting the people to man these school boards? I would like to see the legislation recognizing that there might be a problem to have a local school board for each of the government schools.

I hope I have done enough to show that the present proposals for local school boards not only do not take advantage of the possibilities offered by local school boards elsewhere, but in many ways they would add to the complications of the system. The trouble is that when you bring in something like local school boards there should be a vision or a philosophy. You have to say, well, my idea, or our idea, of education is so-and-so and the local school boards have been devised to enhance that, and the possibilities inherent in local school boards is that they enable a community to hone, shape, devise and influence. They do not allow the community to devise educational policy, but they allow the community to

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