Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

BC school trustees livid over amalgamation talk

British Columbia school trustees are "strongly dismayed" at the thought that school districts may be merged in a bid to save money for the provincial government.

In a news release this afternoon, the B.C. School Trustees Association quoted its president, Connie Denesiuk:

"All boards of education strive to provide the most effective and efficient public education to their communities. We have been down this road before; the 1996 amalgamations resulted in major disruptions, no significant cost savings were achieved, and the overall quality of public education in the affected communities did not improve.

"Any consideration of amalgamations or shared services must clearly demonstrate advantages to students. Many boards of education across British Columbia are currently sharing services and purchasing with other boards and municipalities on a voluntary basis."

In a phone interview this evening, Denesiuk -- on her way to the budget lockup in Victoria Tuesday morning -- told The Tyee that she had been part of a merger in 1996. It had worked fairly well, she said, because the districts were small and the new amalgamated district could still be crossed in 30 minutes.

But the merger had resulted in no savings, she said. Sometimes, amalgamations actually increased costs, and some districts still have problems 13 years later.

Denesiuk mentioned geographical challenges of northern districts, like getting up The Hill from the Bella Coola Valley to the Chilcotin. "Sometimes it's cheaper to fly to Vancouver than to fly next door," she said.

"The bottom line is that amalgamation has no economic benefits."

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus