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Local meeting on possible school board amalgamation

Posted on January 17, 2017 by Maple Creek

Sean McIntosh
Twitter: @SeanMCNews
smcintosh@maplecreeknews.com

A meeting will be held in Maple Creek to discuss the proposed amalgamation of school boards in Saskatchewan.

The School Committee Councils for both Sidney Street School and Maple Creek Composite School will be teaming up to hold an information meeting at the composite school on Wed., Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

The province is making a decision about changes to its school boards soon. There are four possible paths the province can take; changing to the boundaries and amalgamating to eight, four or one school board.

“We don’t want to amalgamate. We want to stay independent, democratic and let our rural voices be heard,” said Breanne Williams, School Committee Council (SCC) chair of Sidney Street School.

Williams says she wants to see people from all over, not just Maple Creek, come out on Jan. 18.

“We hope to see as many as we can possibly get,” she said. “We want all of our surrounding communities to come, get informed and write letters to our MLA, to the Premier and notify them that we’re not going to stand for this.”

Earlier this month, Saskatchewan amalgamated its health regions into a single health authority, something Williams does not want to see happen to the school boards, she said.

A lot of negatives could come from the amalgamation, Williams said, including cutting teachers’ assistants and education for children with special needs.

It’s possible smaller schools could be closed and buses get canceled as well, she added.

Having local school boards is critical to student success, said Doris Mthembu, SCC chair of Maple Creek Composite School and one of the organizers of the meeting.

“The bottom line is students do not benefit from moving decisions further from our community,” said Mthembu. “We need to keep our school boards elected and we need to keep divisions closer to our community.”

The amalgamation means local money will go elsewhere, she added.

“Our tax money goes towards school boards and we could be losing our autonomy, losing our voice in the Southwest,” she said.

If you cannot attend the meeting, but would still like to give your opinion on the matter, you’re asked to write to K12govconsultants@gov.sk.ca or fill out an online form at http://www.saskschoolboards.ca. More details can be found on the website under SSBA headlines.

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