Home > BC Liberals, Boards of Education, British Columbia Politics > A Blueprint For Amalgamation of BC’s Boards of Education?

A Blueprint For Amalgamation of BC’s Boards of Education?

September 16, 2009 D. Collier

Picture 5It seems that there is a movement from the BC Liberal Government to amalgamate BC’s already large (geographically or population-wise) Boards of Education.

Which leads to the question: how would the BC Liberals try to implement and sell amalgamation? A government document entitled “School Centred Leadership/Shared Business Systems” presented in 2006 by Emery Dosdall, then Deputy Minister of Education, may provide the answer.

If I do say so myself, it’s actually quite a clever blueprint for the amalgamation of BC’s Boards of Education. Why heck, it doesn’t even contain the word and actually seems to begins in the opposite direction.

The first part of the document, entitled “School Centred Leadership“, seems to be promoting a decentralization of the school system. It makes the case for giving individual schools more autonomy to “make decisions that impact the learning of their students.” It calls for the creation of “School Planning Councils.” Perhaps most significantly, it calls for schools getting funding on a per-student basis.

Sounds like it could be agreeable so far, doesn’t it? Well, that is, until one reads the second part of the document: “Shared Business Systems.”

Shared Business Systems is the part of the document that promotes centralization. It recommends that Boards of Education share services. It suggests that a Board can provide some services to other Boards and the same Board can buy services from other Boards. The goal of this sharing? To minimize duplication and overlap, to enable better information gathering systems with the Ministry, and to better align Boards to Ministry policies.

Some might be asking: where does the amalgamation part come in?

It’s simple. If a whole series of Boards of Education are sharing, buying and selling services to each other, than why deal with extra layers of governance? Why not merge many Boards into one? If parents are able supposedly able to exercise more power at the school level, then why have an elected Board of Education?

In short, School Centred Leadership/Shared Business Systems could, if applied in the correct manner, be a way to sell amalgamation as something that improves the control of parents into the school system.

P.S.: H/T to this article for alerting me to the existence of School Centred Leadership/Shared Business Systems. Interestingly enough, it is a rather hard document to find.