Should parents contact the school board if they disagree with a school division’s decision about their child’s educational program?
Short answer: Absolutely. Long answer: the province of Saskatchewan has 28 geographical areas called school divisions. Each school division elects (yes, that means you vote) a school board. Boards are elected to govern educational services provided to children within the school division.
So what will the school board do when you contact them with your concern? The responsibilities of boards (Section 85 The Education Act) are essential to student learning and well-being and include the following:
Determine financial priorities, approving the annual budget and ensuring accountability.
Approve the educational program for the school division including special programming needs such as practical applied arts, music and second language instruction.
Maintain school facilities as healthily and safe places to learn.
Make decisions about busing and transportation.
Develop strategic policies for the school division.
Determine the grades offered in a school and the size of classrooms and the number of teachers and other staff.
So technically, the Board of Education is involved in making decisions that impact student learning and well-being, at the division level. The trustee would listen to your concern and most likely recommend that you follow the chain of command. They would want all parents to work to resolve the issue at the school level first before moving further up the chain of command. Boards hire great principals and teachers to deliver quality programs. However, don’t rule out talking to your trustee, if necessary to address your concerns. Trustees have a wealth of information and are there to support you.
About Elaine Caswell
At Elaine’s core, she is a teacher. Throughout her diverse roles as a classroom teacher, school principal, guidance counselor, superintendent, Director of Education and Director of Children’s Services at the Ministry of Education, Elaine has taught, mentored, built strong relationships with families and facilitated individual, group and systemic change.
About Louise Burridge
Louise is an occupational therapist. As one of the first occupational therapists to work in Saskatchewan schools, Louise has worked with numerous families to foster growth and development, facilitate accessibility and support inclusive education. Louise has continued this work as a Student Services Coordinator, at the Ministry of Education, and Director of Professional Practice with the Saskatchewan Society of Occupational Therapists. She now owns and operates OuTcomes Therapy in Regina.