Opposition parties are questioning the provincial government's choice not to intervene in a controversial decision involving schools in Mount Pearl.

Premier Tom Marshall said this week that trustees of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District are the ultimate authority, but Liberal Education Critic Dale Kirby said the government has not always taken a hands-off approach in the past.

Kirby said the PC government once overturned a school board decision during a by-election campaign and has also intervened in matters involving Memorial University.

In 2008, the government overruled Memorial's choice for president and a year later moved against a decision to make the Grenfell campus independent.

Differing opinions in cabinet

While Education Minister Clyde Jackman said he will not intervene, Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Steve Kent said he does not support the decision made by the school board.


NDP Leader Lorraine Michael says the process used by the school board was not democratic.

The difference of opinion between these ministers drew criticism from NDP Leader Loraine Michael.

"I really think there's a game that's being played right now by the two ministers," said Michael.

"Kent is blaming the school board, and Clyde is saying that the school board is following the system as it is supposed to be and you don't want it to interfere. Well, it hasn't been a democratic process."

Mount Pearl South MHA Paul Lane, who crossed the floor from the PCs to the Liberals earlier this year, has also spoken out against the decision of the board.

The school board is planning to make changes affecting St. Peter's Elementary and Newtown Elementary in Mount Pearl. The former will change from a K-6 school to K-3, and the latter will switch from K-6 to 4-6.