EDITORIAL: Local school boards serve little purpose

Trustees have no power, but they face all the heat

This is not a news flash, nor is it an original opinion, but the timing is right to shout it from the rooftops once again:

Local school boards serve little or no purpose and should be abolished.

There is no real point in marking an ‘X’ beside any candidate’s name who is running for a spot in school board elections this fall. For all intents and purposes, voters made their choices regarding who will make decisions on education issues in the provincial election last year.

To follow that train of thought to the end, in effect, Premier Christy Clark is School District 69’s board chair and its trustees are Education Minister Peter Fassbender and Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell. Full stop.

Local school boards, as they are currently constituted, have power over a minuscule portion of their total budgets. They do not set the curriculum. They do not negotiate with its employees. However, they must deal with the ramifications of decisions made by the real power brokers in provincial education matters, Clark and Fassbender.

And we don’t believe anything would change in this regard if there was a different political party running the show in Victoria.

It’s almost sad to watch well-meaning, intelligent people, like those who sit on the current School District 69 board of trustees, have their hands tied and be forced to take all the abuse from frustrated local parents and taxpayers. Nice situation Clark and Fassbender enjoy: make all the decisions and let the locals deal with all the negative feedback.

If the decision-making process for education issues in B.C. was an honest one, the school boards would be scrapped. The Ministry of Education should hire competent, experienced top administrators in each school district to run the show, and stop this school board charade.

Abolishing school boards would also free millions of dollars province-wide for actual in-class purposes.

While we respect the democratic process, and those who fought so we could cast a vote, we may consider making this mark beside the school board portion of the ballot in November: LOL.

— Editorial by John Harding

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