Effective Governance Sets the Conditions for Student Success

Toronto, April 22, 2009- The Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) welcomed the Ministry of Education's initiative, Modernization of School Board Governance. Through the Association public school trustees across the province were actively engaged in contributing to the deliberations of the Minister's Governance Review Committee. OPSBA is pleased that many of the Association's recommendations are incorporated into the report School Board Governance: A Focus on Achievement. The report affirms the importance of school boards as an effective and vital level of governance for promoting democracy and civic engagement at the local level.

There is deep consensus among OPSBA's member boards that setting the conditions that will provide a high quality education for every student to succeed in school and in life is the absolute first priority of a school board. It is why trustees, without exception, run for office. Optimum conditions for successful learning and teaching environments are all about partnership and support. Our Member Boards want to see that openness to partnership and meaningful collaboration continue to be the hallmark of the relationship between school boards and the Ministry of Education.

"School boards are the embodiment of local governance in action," said Colleen Schenk, president of OPSBA. "Effective governance relies on a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities."

The School Board Governance: A Focus on Achievement report provides greater clarity around each partner's respective roles, responsibilities and accountabilities - those of the Ministry of Education, the School Board, Trustees, and the Director of Education. Efforts to share and promote this information broadly, with other municipal jurisdictions, with other levels of government, and with the public at large will be beneficial to strengthening collaboration and enhancing public confidence in public education.

OPSBA emphasizes the importance of recognizing that a trustee position is an elected position and that trustees are accountable to their electorate. The democratic process gives the electorate the opportunity to decide at election time its support for the effectiveness of a trustee. This is a vital aspect of the relationship between trustees and their communities.

OPSBA is conducting a thorough analysis of the Ministry's report. We look forward to participating in the consultation process regarding the Provincial Interest Regulations. Support from the Ministry is most appreciated when it is offered and carried out in a collaborative manner that respects boards' cultures and knowledge of their local circumstances.

Public education is a shared responsibility. OPSBA looks forward to partnerships that engage all levels of government, the business community and the citizens of this province to foster those conditions which promote student success.

This report confirms that trustees perform a vital job in their communities, engaging in work that influences the readiness of the next generation to make successful contributions to a civil and prosperous society. OPSBA will welcome support from the Ministry that strengthens the capacity of trustees to fulfil this role in an increasingly complex environment.

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For more information, please contact:

Jeff Sprang
OPSBA Communications
(416) 340-2540

More information on School Board Governance can be found here.
4/22/2009