The recent announcement, albeit by accident, that the Halifax Regional School Board was moving its headquarters has opened up a proverbial can of worms.
The decision to move the Board’s offices from the two locations they now occupy, into one larger facility in an industrial park, was actually made in the spring. It was not announced and only came to light during media vetting of some other decisions. The kicker is that this new move will add $900,000 (or almost $4 per student in the Province ) in costs to the Board’s operating budget. This at a time when the student enrollment has continued its descent.
One has to ask how decisions like these can be made. Our tax dollars are supposed to be spent on our children’s education. Yet, more and more, we see bloated school boards making frivilous decisions with money that could be going into text books and paper. HRM’s school board’s rationale was that this would provide centralized and therefore more efficient operation of the board. Great. This at a time when other boards are decentralizing and getting closer to the schools and students.
The problem is wide spread. The police department in Montgomery Counry, Maryland is complaining of cuts to their services in order to fund programs at the school board. These police programs have been proven to be effective. Last year a school bombing was averted due to information coming in to the officer on the school site.
Clark County, Nevada is grappling with a elected board that is effectively rendered impotent due to the fact that it has no control over policy and only can judge the actions of the Board Superintendent. As a result the Bureaucracy has allocated $65,000 dollars for a four day junket/planning session (all expenses paid) to discuss revamping the policy.
By the way, the SINGLE board in Clark County, deals with a student population of 290,000. More students than all SEVEN school boards deal with in the Province of Nova Scotia.
Meanwhile in Vancouver, there is a growing movement to abolish school boards all together.
Hmmm… I have said before, that if we really want to get the best bang for our buck when it comes to education, the first step is to get rid of school boards. Fund the schools on an individual/per student basis and lets see how innovative our parents and teachers can become.
Until then, I remain,
A Sour Kraut