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Uteck Calls for School Board to be Disbanded
(Tuesday, June 11/2002)-- Education Minister Jane Purves should consider disbanding the Halifax Regional School Board, Councillor Sue Uteck said today.
Councillor Uteck suggested there should be an administration, with the Parent Advisory Councils making the decisions that are in the best interests of the students and the taxpayers.
The Councillor said " The Board is obviously not an effective lobbying tool on the behalf of parents, to the Province. Schools are in dire straits in the Province of Nova Scotia and this Board continues to defer maintenance, in the hopes that we won't have a problem. There is no leadership, whatsoever, at the Board level."
She said the Halifax Regional School Board has been very inconsistent in its approach to school closures.
"Last Friday, we had two schools close in my District. One was a very preventable maintenance issue-- there were no screens on the drains. As a result, that caused water to flood from the top to the bottom of the school. Who is overseeing the contracts here?" she said.
On the issue of split shifts (where students must be temporarily re-located due to environmental or maintenance issues at their regular school), Councillor Uteck said "You have the Chair of the School Board stating that students should not be divided among three schools ( in the case of Sir John A. MacDonald High School students); yet, they did just that when they decided to close L'Ecole Beaufort, which was a healthy environment, full-capacity school."
Councillor Uteck also criticized the board for not passing along any savings achieved through school closures to schools receiving the displaced students, but instead, using those funds for administration at the Board level.
She said Supplementary Education Funding, to which all taxpayers contribute in the former cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, is used for such things as the all-music program. However, the School Board has decided that private schools will no longer be able to participate in such programs.
Councillor Sue Uteck