Tuesday April 22, 2014





Trustees look at partnerships to save cash

Partnering with municipal governments and other organizations could be a way for school districts to streamline services and cut costs, the chairwoman of the Kamloops-Thompson school board said Sunday.

Denise Harper said the goal is to find ways to save money without affecting students, a task that has become increasingly difficult to do.

"It's to avoid any unnecessary duplication of services and keep cost savings far away from the classroom," said Harper.

"I think it's critical for all groups, all ministries, all branches of government to look for cost savings and sharing of services."

Harper is one of several local school trustees who attended a three-day trustee academy in Vancouver during the weekend. The theme was cultivating connections between school districts and community stakeholders.

The idea of school districts working with municipalities, First Nations, parents, students, post-secondary institutions and even other school districts is an interesting one, she said.

Kamloops-Thompson School District already partners with outside agencies to some degree. Harper said the question now is what more can be done.

"It makes no sense to exist as silos anymore. We're all interconnected. There's only one source of money, and that's the taxpayer," she said.

Some ideas bantered about include sharing payroll systems and allowing students to gain work experience through a municipality, said Harper.

"Is there an opportunity to use their facilities as training facilities?" Harper asked, adding the idea is still pie in the sky.

The province's new curriculum was also discussed. Trustee Meghan Wade said programs focus on personalized learning and parents will find it easier to follow their son or daughter's progress.

She said Education Minister Peter Fassbender attended some sessions, but he didn't offer any new insights to current issues.

"I do appreciate it when he does make himself available to the trustees," said Wade.

About 350 trustees from the province's 60 school districts attended the academy.


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