April 10, 2017 by realrenewal
“In difficult times, education invariably benefits from more democracy, not less.” This was the message RealRenewal gave to the government in January. Three months later, the Education Act’s provisions for local control are under attack.
Bill 63, the Education Act Amendment, takes the powers of electors and our elected representatives and moves them from the law to regulations. The difference is that regulations can be easily changed. The Act had its first reading on April 5.
Affected provisions include the right of citizens to hold annual electors’ meetings, to have a say in school closures, and to hold trustees to account through repeal petitions.
On Jan. 23, RealRenewal told an advisory panel, “The government has a duty…to seriously engage directly with electors around any measures that would substantially weaken or disenfranchise them of their voting power.”
That advice fell on deaf ears. Changes are going ahead with no prior warning or consultation.
The Sask Party has been saying in the Assembly that RealRenewal supports education governance reforms. Email Premier Brad Wall and Education Minister Don Morgan today and let them know in no uncertain terms that these are not the reforms we had in mind. At the same time, demand that education funding be restored.
Based on feedback from a member survey, our presentation said that local governance, at a minimum, should ensure:
- A right to vote for local representatives.
- An expectation that public service planning and delivery is informed by locally chosen, locally accountable boards.
- An ability to ensure large bureaucratic structures and funding models remain flexible to local needs and aspirations.
Further, our survey showed “there is strong support for reinvesting school divisions with the power to set their own mill rates and maintain control of their own reserves, as a means to raise funds locally to meet local aspirations.”
The current system is not perfect. We have argued in the past that that there should be a provincial education ombudsman to turn to when boards make decisions that negatively impact our children and communities, or when they act without due process and transparency.
An ombudsman is a reasonable check and balance. The heavy hand of government is not; this will only compound democratic deficiencies and budgetary inefficiencies.
Also, mark your calendar for May 24, a provincial day of action against cutbacks to education, transportation, libraries, medical assistance programs, and other basic services that belong to the people of Saskatchewan.
Education is a right, not a privilege.
Fighting for Saskatchewan rally
When: May 24, 2017 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Where: Legislative Building, Regina
The following are the scheduled buses going to the rally;
North Battleford – Arrives: 6:30am at the parking lot near Wal-Mart
Tisdale – Arrives: 6:30am at the parking lot near Robin’s Donuts
Leaves 7:00am (This bus will stop in Melfort)
Prince Albert – Arrives: 6:30am at the parking lot near Marquis Inn and Suites
Saskatoon – Arrives: 7:30am at Sask Place
Yorkton – Arrives: 6:30am at the parking lot near Gallager Centre
Leaves 7:00am (This bus will stop in Fort Qu’Appelle)
Fort Qu’Appelle – Arrives 9:00am at the parking lot near A&W
Swift Current – Arrives: 7:30am at the parking lot near Wal-Mart
Leaves 8:00am (This bus will stop in Moose Jaw)
Moose Jaw – Arrives 9:45am at the parking lot near Wal-Mart
Weyburn- Arrives: 8:30am at the parking lot near Wal-Mart
Estevan – Arrives: 6:30am at the parking lot near Wal-Mart
In Regina contact Rally3817@gmail.com if you need a ride.