School trustee criticizes transition team appointments

Cory Hurley
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CORNER BROOK  Four years of frustration in serving as a school board trustee has peaked says Robert Barrett.

The Gillams man representing the Bay of Islands/Humber on the Western School District board said his term has been nothing like he hoped.

“I went on the board thinking I could help children,” Barrett said. “It’s not that way really. It is just so frustrating.

“I quickly learned the school board is pretty cut and dry one way.”

Wednesday, Education Minister Clyde Jackman announced the appointment of the school board transition team. Chair Don Brown and trustee Nada Borden, from the western board, will help oversee the consolidation of the province’s four English-language boards.

“Wow, what a great board of Progressive Conservative candidates,” Barrett said. “God help our children. I am sure there will be lots of opposition from this new board to all that the PCs want to do for the benefit of our children.”

Meanwhile, at Monday evening’s board meeting in Corner Brook, Barrett also questioned whether Brown would be the best person to bring forward local concerns and lobby for support from the Newfoundland and Labrador School Board Association. Brown had expressed his interest on being part of the transition team.

During the same meeting, trustee Paul Wilson suggested the committee would be comprised of people who would not object to the decision of government to consolidate the boards. The committee is comprised of each of the four chairs and one other representative from each board.

The board of trustees passed a motion to Monday to direct the association to object to the consolidation or at least request a delay to allow more time to prepare for the move.

At the time, Brown said he previously opposed the consolidation decision, and stands by that now. However, he said he is prepared to work with government through this process in the best interest of the students in the province.

In a closed camera session, Barrett voiced his displeasure with the board association for not taking a stance on the consolidation. He proposed a motion to not host the upcoming annual general meeting in Deer Lake. The motion was defeated by one vote.

A second motion to have Brown bring their concerns to next month’s association meeting, get feedback, and then vote on it again. That motion was also defeated.

“We are hosting a function for a governing body that will probably not be in existence in September and has not even come forward to make a statement on behalf of the school boards they are supposed to be representing,” Barrett said.

He believes the annual meeting is a waste of money.

Although Barrett supported the motion to direct the association to object the consolidation, he did so for different reasons. He said all boards should have been eliminated, and the education system can operate through government and senior management. He said that is pretty well how things run anyway.

“After being here four years, I can’t see any use for a school board except to be a fall guy for the government,” he said.

Twitter: WS_CoryHurley

Organizations: Don Brown, Newfoundland and Labrador School Board Association

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Deer Lake

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Recent comments

  • Jake
    April 25, 2013 - 16:37

    What a mess, starting with Clyde Jackman! Pity the little children. We know IT rolls downhill!