KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Since the McNeil Liberals have done away with local school boards throughout Nova Scotia, 57 women have been pushed out of elected office.
Of all the school trustees in the province, 55% were women.
Running for and (if elected) sitting on school boards is often the first rung on the ladder for women who want to enter the political arena. Of course Nova Scotia does not bother worrying about women in politics — as only 33% of MLAs are women, and only 7 are in the Liberal government!
Though not everyone thinks a lot about school trustees, they are a conduit for parents to connect with their children’s schools and to raise issues about education in the province. School trustees are democratically elected — people in short supply across Canada and especially in Nova Scotia. They are responsible for how school boards implement policies and practices. Each school board member is paid between $13,000 and $21,000 a year, and receives a per diem, for eligible expenses, to attend meetings. Last time I checked, all told, school board members’ pay and expenses amounted to less than $1.2 million per year. Hardly a king’s ransom.
So why is McNeil getting rid of them? Why are the Liberals centralizing and controlling health care and education? One health board for 1 million people and 1 school board for the same. Damn right the teachers should strike — what else will wake up this neo-liberal and nasty government?
Judy Haiven is a retired professor of Industrial Relations at Saint Mary’s University
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