The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) says it is encouraged and excited about the new direction for education in the province, after recent meetings with Minister of Education Russ Marchuk and new deputy minister of Education Dan Florizone.
"What we have heard is a direction that promises to be collaborative and cohesive in terms of developing strategic plans that will support the government's and school boards' mutual goals to improve student achievement in Saskatchewan," said SSBA President Janet Foord.
Highlights of the discussions with Marchuk and Florizone included the assurance that boards of education will continue to be locally-elected and accountable to their electorate, and that education sector strategic plans will be developed collaboratively as opposed to being driven by the Ministry of Education.
Foord said there hasn't been any talk of switching from elected boards to government-appointed boards, but there were concerns among school board trustees that it would eventually happen.
"A lot of the last year has been ministry-driven, and because our new deputy minister has come over from health, there was some fear that maybe those (appointed school boards) were in the planning or in the agenda for the government," said Foord.
Foord and the SSBA have been assured that boards will remain elected.
Health boards, or regional health authorities, have been appointed by the provincial government for more than 15 years.
Foord has more than 25 years of experience as an elected school board member, with the local board at Macoun School, the Macoun representative for the Estevan Rural School Board and one of the Estevan trustees on the South East Cornerstone Public School Board.
"It doesn't get any more grassroots than having a locally-elected school board," said Foord.