While the dust has seemingly started to settle in the legislature after Bill 63, an amendment to the Education Act, some — particularly parents — across the province are still left concerned and confused.
Michelle Grodecki, a Regina mother of three, said many parents, like herself, are seeking clarification around what exactly changed.
“Even with the amendments, there is so much uncertainty surrounding what kind of power the trustees really do have and what kind of power the school divisions are really going to have, which then comes down to affecting our kids and the programs the school divisions offer,” she said.
And Grodecki understands what it’s like to have programs cut.
Following the March 22 provincial budget — due to the lack of education ministry funding — Regina Public Schools cancelled its Communication Preschool, for children with hearing loss, which her son attended.
Similar to Grodecki, the Saskatchewan School Boards Association is also leery of some of the amendments made to Bill 63.
Shawn Davidson, president of the association, said last week they’re pleased the government amended the bill to preserve the roles of elected boards and ensure trustees could be locally elected; however, the SSBA is still concerned with overriding power to the minister and the future of joint boards.
Meanwhile, Grodecki said she’s noticing first-hand how teachers in her kids’ school are feeling deflated — especially when they’re asked to be more innovative and creative with less resources.
She said she’s worried about the future of educators in Saskatchewan.
“There are so many teachers saying, ‘Maybe it’s just time for me to walk away,’” said Grodecki. “We’re going to lose good teachers as a result of this bill — we’re losing teachers already — because of the government’s voice and how the government is portraying teachers.”
Davidson wants to see, after public consultation, the government sit down and reform the Education Act, noting it was crafted in 1994.