Elected school boards would bring back 'that local voice,' says home and school federation

The P.E.I. Home and School Federation is calling for a return to an elected school board. The proince's English-language school board was dissolved in 2015 and replaced with the Public Schools Branch.

Resolution passed at federation's annual general meeting

The MacLauchlan government dissolved the English language school board in 2015 and replaced it with the Public Schools Branch. (CBC)

The P.E.I. Home and School Federation is calling for a return to an elected school board.

It was one of several resolutions passed at the organization's recent annual general meeting, said federation president Cory Thomas.

"When I scanned the room the majority of people seemed to think that was the way to go," he said. "The resolution passed and that'll be one of the strategic directions that as an association we'll be working towards."

Thomas said the motion was brought forward by the Kinkora Home and School Federation.

Replaced with Public Schools Branch

The MacLauchlan government dissolved the province's English-language school board in 2015 and replaced it with the Public Schools Branch, which is governed by a director and three-person board appointed by the education minister.

Thomas said an elected school board would provide better local representation.

It's important to have that local voice around the table when decisions about school regions and things are being made.— Cory Thomas

"The issues in every school district can be different and it's important to have that local voice around the table when decisions about school regions and things are being made," he said. "I like to think that the elected school board trustees would also look provincially in scope as well."

The home and school federation suggested school board elections be held at the same time as provincial elections in order to increase voter turnout.

The home and school federation also passed a resolution to look at developing a policy around school closures when there's a death in the school community.

Schools 'close knit'

"Our schools, they're close knit," Thomas said. "The students are very close with the employees of the school and the bus drivers and the teachers and administrators and everyone involved."

Another resolution calls for students on the autism spectrum to be consulted on policy matters.

The federation will be sending a letter to the education minister and Public Schools Branch outlining the various resolutions.

The federation hopes to meet soon with government officials to begin discussions.

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With files from Island Morning