Rainbow Board lobbies for one school board system in Ontario

    The Recorder

    SUDBURY—The Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) has reiterated its support of having one school board system in the province of Ontario.

    An RDSB motion to this effect “was passed by the board,” said board chair Doreen Dewar. The motion reads, “that a letter be sent to the minister of education re-iterating and expanding on our previous requests that the ministry consider one school board; two languages as the most efficient method for fiscal responsibility while maintaining our primary focus on student success.”

    “The (RDSB) has lobbied for amalgamation of school boards for every area, to have one school board in the province, for quite a few years,” said Ms. Dewar, “by amalgamating Catholic and public school boards and maybe this could include French language boards as well.”

    “The previous letter we had sent to the ministry also indicated our support advocating for a one board system. Everyone on the board agrees that we are not willing to give up on this issue. With a new government in place, and its requesting consultation from boards, we will try again and send another letter outlining our position and stress some of the issues we provided in our previous letter,” said Ms. Dewar. She pointed out it was former Premier Mike Harris and his government that established four types of school boards in the province.

    The RDSB in a letter dated December 14 to the Minister of Education Lisa Thompson reads, “thank you for engaging in broad public consultations that will ensure that everyone interested in education in Ontario has an opportunity to provide feedback. (RDSB) shares your commitment to working together to achieve student success, while spending taxpayer dollars wisely and with greater accountability.” 

    “We welcome this opportunity to respond to both your request and that of Deputy Minister of Education Nancy Naylor for feedback that will help to deliver vital education programs and services efficiently.”

    The letter continues, “on December 11 Rainbow District School Board trustees unanimously approved the following motion: “In response to the request for input for the 2019-2020 Education Funding Guide, that (RDSB) write a letter to the minister of education to consider the consolidation of school boards into one system with education in both official languages in order to achieve significant savings in the education sector.”

    It was outlined that RDSB urged the province to create one publicly funded system in a letter dated March 30, 2017 and a letter dated October 21, 2016. “In response to your call for input on how efficiencies can be achieved throughout the education sector in Ontario we are renewing our request for one school board at this time.”

    The letter adds, “RDSB continues to value co-operation and collaboration to ensure that investments in education are directed whey they will have the greatest impact—in the classroom. One school board, offering English, French-immersion and French-language education would result in significant savings.”

    The Canadian Press reported last week that the Ontario government is considering a plan that would see the number of regional school boards slashed.

    Currently, there are 76 public boards in Ontario. The plan would drastically reduce that number by merging smaller boards with one another. The government’s rationale, newspaper sources said, is to streamline administration and cut board bureaucracy. 

    The change is expected to take aim at school boards in smaller communities.