Nova Scotia

South Shore school board fired

Nova Scotia's education minister has fired the South Shore school board after a performance review slammed the board for putting individual agendas ahead of the good of the region.

3rd board in Nova Scotia disbanded in five years

The South Shore school board voted for a formal review in July. (CBC)

Nova Scotia's education minister has fired the South Shore school board after a performance review slammed the board for putting individual agendas ahead of the good of the region.

Ramona Jennex appointed Judith Sullivan-Corney, a former deputy minister, to act as the one-person board.

"It is clear from the Deloitte report that the board was unable to fulfill its duties and its conduct placed the quality of education for students at risk," Jennex said in a statement Tuesday.

The report found cases of conflict of interest and violations of the board's bylaws. It said the board spent too much time in closed-door meetings, thus failing to be as open and accountable as it should.

Deloitte looked at the school review process and found that some board members touted their personal agendas ahead of the needs of the entire board.

"We believe the likelihood of the current board as a collective entity transforming itself into a well-functioning board is low," the report states.

"The capabilities required to successfully implement the recommendations are largely absent from the board, and success is unlikely to be achieved by the current members, even with substantial outside assistance."

The board itself asked for an audit after it was revealed that some members tried to make backroom deals to save certain schools.

Twelve schools were up for possible review this year — a process that could have led to the closure of some of them. But on March 30, 10 of the 12 board members voted to skip the entire process.

The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin obtained emails through a freedom-of-information request that showed some board members lobbied others to support their schools before the vote.

The board formally apologized for skipping the review process.

Sullivan-Corney is now responsible for the board. The Department of Education says the day-to-day operations of the 32 schools will continue as usual.

Other school boards dismissed

This is the third school board fired in five years.

The elected members of the Halifax Regional School Board were dismissed in 2006 for constant bickering and infighting.

In 2008, the education minister at the time disbanded the Strait Regional School Board, saying the members couldn't put their differences aside to serve their mandate.

Both boards were replaced with an appointee.

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