Home > BC Liberals, Boards of Education, British Columbia Politics > Amalgamation Of BC Boards Of Education?

Amalgamation Of BC Boards Of Education?

August 31, 2009

It seems the part of the review of BC’s 60 Boards of Education announced in last week’s throne speech involves ordering them to look at amalgamation.

Maybe I’m a bit paranoid, but the last time the BC Liberals amalgamated a bunch of entities, the end result looked like this and the entities were not elected by the public anymore.

We’ll just have to see if this is a trial balloon, or something more serious.

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  1. janfromthebruce
    August 31, 2009 at 4:23 am

    BC, like the rest of the provinces is experiencing overall declining student enrollment – thus this same number of Boards (with all of its duplicated infrastructure at the admin/organizational level) is serving a shrinking student population. Amalgamation saves $ if different Boards share the same geographical area and serve/compete for the same student population.
    Boards of education are about improving student achievement through community engagement. Thus the focus should be programming/curriculum needs rather than on infrastructure in order to free up infrastructure resources and shift them to the classroom (so to speak).
    I am not sure how BC operates its school system, but if you have different kinds of Bds (eg. Catholic school Board, religous school Board, and so on) serving and competing in the same area, one thus has duplication of service going on. That is a waste of money. Better to amalgamate those ones (senior admin and duplicating org services) and free up money for the classroom and student services.
    Creating consortiums amongst Boards who share similar geography and student population does save money – such as for student services, some programming, bussing and so on.
    Amalgamating for the sake of “bigger is better” does not save $, as the bigger board is just servicing a bigger area and often ends up costing more – inefficient.

    • August 31, 2009 at 9:17 am

      BC only has two types of school boards:

      1) the regular school board which covers a geographic area;
      and 2) the single french school board that covers the entire province

      There isn’t much overlap between school boards geographically in BC (religious schools tend to be private, and specialist public schools are run by the same geographical school district as the regular schools), therefore amalgamation in BC is going to result in boards of education covering larger geographic areas.

  2. August 31, 2009 at 7:59 am

    I can’t speak to the BC experience, but I was a student in Ontario at the time when Mike Harris was imposing amalgamation on Ontario’s school boards even where doing so made absolutely no sense. The results were disastrous. Rather than saving money by reducing administrative overheads (the stated goal of the program), the real purpose was to create cover for significant funding cuts to schools. Teachers found themselves so chronically under-resourced that they were forced to make some difficult collective bargaining choices, including a teachers’ strike when I was in elementary school, and work to rule which cancelled all extra-curricular activities when I was in high school. I don’t blame the teachers for any of this. I blame Harris and his so-called “common sense revolution”, the Orwellian name given to one of the stupidest governing philosophies ever foisted on the voting public. I have friends whose parents literally pulled their kids out of school and home-schooled them rather than let them suffer in the Harris-run public education system.

  1. September 16, 2009 at 12:48 pm
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