Education and Early Childhood Development

School Board Transition

Progress Update (May 10-11, 2013)

The School Board Transition Committee met on Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11. Ex-officio members Janet Vivian-Walsh (Deputy Minister of Education) and Ed Walsh (Assistant Deputy Minister, Primary, Elementary, Secondary) were present. The committee discussed the following subjects:
Transition Committee Mandate
Newfoundland and Labrador is moving to create an education system with two school boards – one English-language and one Francophone. The process to merge the current four English-language boards into one has begun with the establishment of a transition committee. Committee Chair Lorne Wheeler welcomed all members to the inaugural meeting and congratulated Goronwy Price on his appointment as vice-chair.
The transition committee has a mandate to ensure that schools are ready for the first day of the school year in September 2013, with teachers and other staff, as well as new management systems, in place.   
The Transition Committee will communicate with current school boards throughout the consolidation process, ensuring issues and concerns are addressed in a timely manner. Stakeholders will be kept informed and these progress reports will be issued on a regular basis. 
The work to finalize staffing for the new provincial board is ongoing, along with the placement of teachers and professional board staff throughout the regions, as per the NLTA collective agreements. Placements for program itinerants who currently work in a regional office have been confirmed, and planning for placements for trades and IT personnel will be concluded shortly.  Recruitment for program specialists will begin as soon as specific roles and locations have been confirmed.  Collective agreement rights of employees are being respected in all staffing decisions. Existing school boards will follow current policies for staffing of their schools – including custodians, maintenance, secretaries, and teacher assignments. 
School Board Elections
Given the decision to consolidate school boards, and the timelines to have that work completed, the committee noted it may not be practical to hold school board elections in September as scheduled, and that this recommendation should be forwarded to the minister.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development confirmed specific Budget 2013 investments in teaching and learning, including early childhood, and infrastructure. It was noted there has been no change to the allocation model for special education, and there is to be no reduction to student assistant support or to supports for students with special needs. Significant funding for repairs and maintenance, capital construction and new curriculum will continue.
Busing policies will remain in effect for September, with the current school districts to arrange busing schedules. It was noted that a review of the school transportation system is ongoing.



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