Nova Scotia

Tri-County school board to get overseer after AG report

The province’s minister of education says a southern Nova Scotia school board needs to gets its act together following a critical report by Auditor General Michael Pickup.

Report criticizes board and management for too little monitoring of student performance

The province’s minister of education says a southern Nova Scotia school board needs to gets its act together following a critical report by Auditor General Michael Pickup.

Education Minister Karen Casey says she’s giving the Tri-County Regional School Board six months to improve and she plans to appoint an advisor to oversee the board.

"Absolutely I'm concerned,” Casey said Wednesday. “That's why I'm giving a directive and that's why I'm putting a ministerial advisor in there to work with them.”

Tri-County students routinely score lower on standardized tests than the provincial average.

The auditor general found that even though the board says numeracy and literacy are priorities, it has never done an in-depth analysis of why students are performing poorly.

Pickup also found board members had no mechanism to evaluate their own performance and inadequate procedures to judge the performance of its superintendent.

He criticized school board management and said outside of literacy, they are not keeping track of student performance in a slew of subjects.

“Although management directed schools to create annual school improvement plans, the goals outlined in the plans did not always align with the Board’s priorities,” the report says. “Reporting by schools on progress towards their goals was limited.”

Board chair Donna Tidd told CBC News the Tri-County board's response to the findings are in the auditor general’s report.

"It is what it is,” she said.

The superintendent of Tri-County said school board management agrees with the auditor's recommendations. Lisa Doucet said there are policies already in place in many of the areas where the auditor general outlined concerns, however those need to be enhanced.

"We want to work together with our governing board to ensure that we have a plan and strategies to address the areas that were noted in the report as a gap in our current practices," Doucet said.

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