Education Minister Dale Kirby says he will follow through on a November election promise to hold school board elections within 12 months.

"We're looking at a variety of options," he said. "But I want this done right, and rushing into this would make no sense."

Kirby has taken heat from the president of the Federation of School Councils, Peter Whittle, who told the Central Morning Show last week that it's important to hold elections "sooner rather than later" because of the province's financial crunch.

"Over the last couple of days we've been hearing about potential school closures, and you know, unelected officials are going to be dealing with that," said Whittle.

'No one will ever accuse them of doing my bidding' - Dale Kirby

Kirby said he has asked trustees to find savings where possible, and he expects them to carry out their function as trustees.

"No one will ever accuse them of doing my bidding," he said, since the trustees were appointed by the previous Progressive Conservative administration.

Kirby said government is looking at a legislative change that would harmonize elections at both the English school district and the French school board.

"So it is not as easy as Mr. Whittle has suggested," he said, adding that the government will not remove the trustees and replace them with new ones

"Two wrongs don't make a right."

Kindergarten plans won't change

As for the government's commitment to full-day kindergarten, Kirby said the plan will not be scrapped because of budget restraints — something put forward by Gander residents at a public meeting recently.

"We've sunk tens of millions of dollars into preparations," he said. "We've done something in the order of a hundred renovations across the province in schools getting ready for this."

The expanded program will begin in September, as scheduled, Kirby said.

"We believe the benefits outweigh the costs."