School-based management and School Planning Councils: the end of school boards???

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Story breaks in Prince Rupert.
Privatized schools may be in the cards

By James Vassallo
The Daily News (Prince Rupert)
Thursday, February 23, 2006

According to documents obtained by The Daily News, the province is pushing ahead with a plan that would all but eliminate school boards, force schools to be run more like individual corporations and hire more business-minded administrators to run them, rather than promote teachers to the post.

“This program would put all of the power of budgeting within the hands of principals and school planning councils, whereas now all that goes through an elected school board,” said Marty Bowles, Prince Rupert District Teachers’ Union President (PRDTU). “(Administrators will be) number-crunchers, not necessarily a person interested in the social issues of a school.”… To find out how to subscribe to the Daily News (we can mail the paper anywhere), please give us a call at (250) 624-6785 or call toll free 1-800-343-0022. Original Source

See also, previous entry on School Planning Councils.Province looks at more local control of schools
Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, February 24, 2006

The B.C. government is considering a plan to give principals and parents more control over public schools and a greater say over how education dollars are spent locally, Education Minister Shirley Bond confirmed Thursday.

She described the plan as “school-based leadership” and stressed that participation is voluntary for now. Some schools have already expressed interest in being part of the experiment, she added.

But Bond said her government has no intention of eliminating school boards.

The minister was responding to a story in the Prince Rupert Daily News on Thursday that said the province was pushing ahead with a plan that would all but eliminate school boards and force schools to be run more like individual corporations.

“At this point, there is no plan to eliminate public school boards,” she said in an interview with The Vancouver Sun.

“We’re going to have a discussion over the next number of months as we visit schools and school districts to talk about what the system should look like in the future.”

She was referring to a promise in the throne speech that she and Premier Gordon Campbell would visit every school district in B.C. to talk to educators, parents and students about how the system can be improved.

Bond said she wants to build on school planning councils that were introduced by the Liberal government to give parents a greater voice in their schools. The councils, which include the school principal, teachers and parents elected by the parent advisory council, meet regularly to discuss student achievement.

“This is just a concept that builds on the school planning council,” Bond said, adding the councils have been highly successful in many districts. “We’re saying how do we work together to coordinate and collaborate and bring parents and school staff and school planning councils into the decision-making mix together. We want to talk about
that collaboration and that’s the kind of leadership we’re talking about at schools.”

Two school districts — Prince George and Rocky Mountain — are already looking at how they can give more flexibility and decision- making to local schools, Bond said.

Parents want a role in their children’s education, she said. “I can tell you as a parent who went through the system, I didn’t feel like that on a lot of occasions. What we’re saying is they need to be meaningful partners in this discussion.”

She said she was disappointed to hear the plan characterized as a plot to dismantle school boards.

“That’s not in the mix at all. What is in the mix is how do we actually work more efficiently at the school level together.”

Tom Hierck, president of the B.C. Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association, said school-based leadership would allow schools to respond to the needs of their local communities rather than simply following directions from the ministry and the local school board. That would be a change from the “one-size-fits-all model,” he said.
“Experience shows we rarely get it right when we do it that way.”

Kim Howland, president of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, said parents will want to be assured t the change does not result in inequities in the system. But over all, she said the confederation, which speaks for parents on provincial education issues, believes the best decisions about schools are made by the
individual school community.

© The Vancouver Sun 2006

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