Nova Scotia

Changes to hub school rules may be coming, says Education Minister

Failed attempts to create Nova Scotia's first hub school may have convinced Education Minister Karen Casey changes are needed to the rules.

Karen Casey says she thinks it's time to look at criteria to see 'how workable they are'

Nova Scotia's Minister of Education Karen Casey hasn't set any timeline for making changes to the criteria. (CBC)

Nova Scotia's Minister of Education Karen Casey appears ready to revisit to rules the province set two years ago that school boards use to determine whether to create a hub school. 

A hub school is a building that shares public school classrooms with organizations, public or private, that rent space. The idea is to save underused schools by making them community hubs with other uses. 

Bar too high?

Communities have filed a number of proposals for hub schools, but school boards have rejected every one of them. The latest refusal was this week by the Tri-County Regional School Board to turn Digby Neck Consolidated School into one.

A hub school's school activity cannot be negatively impacted by any group or business sharing the space, and the school must pay its own way without being a drain on board finances.

Some have complained the bar is set too high for any proposal to be successful.

Guidelines to be reassessed

Casey appears ready to accept that view.

"As we work through other communities that may be interested in the hub, we have to look at the guidelines that we have and how workable they are," Casey said following a regularly scheduled cabinet meeting Thursday.

"We've not made any changes to those yet, but we certainly are looking at monitoring...what concerns people in communities may have with that."

'More beneficial and more workable'

Asked if she thought the current rules were functional, the minister responded, "I wouldn't have put them out if I didn't think they were realistic."

"However, once you start the implementation, then you look at, 'are there ways that we can make them more beneficial and more workable in the community?'" she said.

Casey hasn't set any timeline for making changes to the criteria.

"Whenever we get a concern, we certainly go back and look at it. We've not made any changes, but we're open to listening," she said.


Jean Laroche


Jean Laroche has been a CBC reporter since 1987. He's been covering Nova Scotia politics since 1995 and has been at Province House longer than any sitting member.