Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Out with the board, in with the city council in controversial education suggestion

What will surely become a well read and controversial document has just been released, and the content of it offers up a radically different approach to education for communities across the province.

Doug Player, a former West Vancouver school superintendent has authored an essay called "A School Funding Solution".
A document which offers up the argument, that education would be better served by abolishing the School Board system as it exists now and replacing it by a system of appointed board members through the provinces City councils, much like cities have with a Library board, Recreation board and such.

In the revised system as he sees it, Player suggests that the school system will still be accountable to elected officials, this time through various city councils of the province. The School Superintendent position would be replaced by a Chief Education Officer who would report to the Mayor, Council and City Manager.

Most importantly it offers up the ability of funding for the schools to municipal councils, which would have to respond to residents concerns by increasing taxes to provide the programs required or make the hard decisions that continue to haunt School Districts across the province, leaving those decisions however to the elected officials who have access to the financial levers that could offer solutions.

Mr. Player was Superintendent in West Vancouver for 13 years and retired in 2002 as one of B.C.'s longest-serving superintendents and as president of the Canadian Association of School Administrators.

His essay is surely to be a controversial offering, while it may be a workable solution in such communities as West Vancouver where Mr. Player is from, one wonders just how realistic it is in struggling communities like Prince Rupert and other rural locations where the economic troubles of the day are already wreaking havoc on budgets.

His discussion paper will certainly be one that gets people talking about education across the province, though we wonder how enthusiastic Prince Rupert City Council may be at the prospect of adding on education to their growing list of concerns, or more importantly if city residents want to entrust education to their care!

No comments: