Response to Bill #64
April 21, 2021
Dear Community Members,
On March 15, 2021, the provincial government issued tentative plans under Bill #64 (Education Modernization Act) for significant changes to the Manitoba school system. As outlined on the government’s newly launched Better Education website, Bill #64 is a response to the K-12 Education Review.
Although we affirm the work of the K-12 Commission members and agree that improvements to the K-12 education system are needed, the Board of Trustees is deeply concerned that Bill #64 (as proposed) may negatively impact our communities and schools. The government has proposed structural changes that will affect all education stakeholders, including students, parents/guardians, teachers, staff, and community members. These changes are significant in scope, create a new governance model, and extend far beyond the Commission’s final report.
Once implemented, the proposed changes outlined in Bill #64 will eliminate community elected representation. We anticipate programming to be directed by regional administrations that will follow province-wide curricula. As we have stated in the past, the HSD Board of Trustees strongly opposes eliminating locally elected school boards. Our view on this matter remains unchanged. School boards are grassroots democratic institutions. As partners in education, school boards are invested in their communities and the education of our children. Rather than appointed government representatives, we believe that locally elected school boards will always understand and envision their communities’ needs in a better way. In this regard, we continue to advocate for school division autonomy. Additional information regarding Bill #64 governance changes can be found on the Manitoba School Board Association website.
The Board of Trustees fully supports a plan of action to build an education system that is classroom-focused, student-centred, parent-friendly, and accountable for results. We believe this can and should be done collaboratively with existing school boards and education stakeholders (view our recommendations submitted to the Commission in 2019). Building a system that puts students first has always been a priority for the Hanover School Division. We are, and always have been, a student-centred school division.
Bill #64 has the potential to transform education and build a brighter future for students across Manitoba, but not in its present legislative form. If you value education and your ability to help shape local schools to meet community needs, we encourage you to voice your concerns. Please call 204-945-3636 and register to speak to Bill #64 (Education Modernization Act). You can also reach out to your local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to voice your concerns or support. If you would like to learn more about the K-12 Commission Final Report and Bill #64, visit our website at HSD.ca.
The HSD Board of Trustees will continue to work with diligence and integrity for as long as we serve in our positions. As your locally elected representatives, we will also seek out opportunities to advocate for our school communities. If you have questions regarding Bill #64 or would like to engage in further dialogue, please contact your HSD Ward Trustee(s).
HSD Board of Trustees
Ron Falk (Chair), Rick Peters (Vice Chair), Lynn Barkman, Sue Doerksen, Jonathon Driedger, Shannon Friesen, Danielle Funk, Carisa Klassen, and Brad Unger.
HSD Board of Trustees Respond to Bill #64 (PDF Version)