September 5th, 2023

Houston government withholds school board report

HALIFAX – Parents, staff and students are preparing for the start of the new school year this week but are still in the dark about if or when the Houston government plans to reinstate school boards to Nova Scotia’s education system. According to results of a recent engagement survey obtained by the NSNDP through a Freedom of Information request, Nova Scotians want the Houston government to bring elected school boards back.

“Since the decision to eliminate school boards was made, parents, staff, and students have been frustrated about the lack of accountability in education without locally elected representatives who are in charge of what goes on in our schools,” said NDP Education spokesperson Suzy Hansen. “As a former school board member, I know how much people care about the schools in their community and how important that local level of decision-making was for people.”

Quotes from the FOIPOP release include:

  • "Bring back school boards. Having info go straight from EECD to the RCE's keeps decisions political and lessens local voice as RCE folks are the employees of EECD, so the hierarchy limits meaningful local feedback"
  • "Bring back school boards. Parents have no idea who to contact in the system for support."
  • "Bring back school boards so we can have someone to be our voice"
  • All English school boards were eliminated in 2018 by then-Education Minister Zach Churchill. The Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial (CSAP) is the only elected school board remaining and is responsible for all francophone schools in Nova Scotia.
“People want to be able to understand why the decisions that are made about our schools are made,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “On everything from disciplinary matters, to school food programs, to new school capital projects, parents want to be able to ask questions about and understand how decisions are being made about what’s going on inside their children’s school.”

The Houston Conservatives said they would return school boards in their 2021 election campaign and promised to hold consultations within the first three months of government. The two-year anniversary of the Houston government’s election was August 17, 2023.