BMI

SouthShoreNow.ca

Everything you need to know about Nova Scotia's South Shore

  
In-House  Bloggers
RoadDog blog
Her-Land
Our Citizen Bloggers
1940sexperiment.com
Ripples2Waves
In The News
Adam Mertens
The Wild Rovers
Cheryl Pickens
Sour Kraut
Frugal and Greenish

Minister 'deeply concerned' about board members' behaviour

'All options are going to be open to me,' says Ramona Jennex; special meeting called to deal with scandalous revelations
by Stacey Colwell


Ramona Jennex - Education minister
 COUNTY - The minister of Education says "everything is on the table" regarding how she will respond to scandalous revelations about the behaviour of elected members of the South Shore Regional School Board.

 "All options are going to be open to me and I will use the one that is going to be in the best interest of the students of the board," said Ramona Jennex in a July 14 interview.

 At issue were articles from this newspaper based on a freedom of information request which revealed unseemly behind-the-scenes dealings in the weeks leading up to a controversial March 30 board decision not to put any schools under review for possible closure in 2011-12.

 In recent years, two other elected Nova Scotia school boards have been uniformly dismissed by a previous Education minister for unprofessional behaviour, and Ms Jennex would not discount that possibility in this case.

 "It does raise a number of issues, but at this point I'm in the very preliminary stages of investigating this and how this fits under our legislation, so therefore I can't really make a comment about what my action is going to be at this time. I think I need a little bit more time to make sure I have all of the information, and then I will be acting."

 In any case, the Education minister said she was "deeply concerned" about the matter after reading the Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin.

 "It's very important that we have school boards that act professionally and work co-operatively. ... They have to obey a code of ethics. That's what Nova Scotians are expecting and that's what I'm expecting."

 She said the public also deserves the opportunity for discourse on important issues at public meetings.

 "School boards really need to recognize that they serve the needs of our students and our families, and they need to have their debates and their issues brought forward in an open, transparent way."

 Ms Jennex said she understands that individual board members may come to the table with different opinions.

 "Sometimes you can bring [other board members] along and sometimes you can't, but that is the nature of working as a team in a group. You can't be doing things behind the scenes."

 The minister said she hopes the recent behaviour of this elected board is an anomaly, because if it wasn't, "That would be of grave concern."

 However, she did not want to speculate about the possibility of this government eventually considering legislative changes to abolish elected school boards altogether.

 "At this point, I'm working with school boards. They have a legislated place in government."

 In the meantime, the board announced a special public meeting for July 20 at 7:30 p.m. to deal with the freedom of information application and its subsequent media coverage, which communications manager Trish Smith said "led to substantive questions being asked and requiring further discussion of the board that cannot wait until the August meeting."

 She said the only potential disciplinary option available to the board is a public censure of its individual members.

 "That really is the only self-policing mechanism that boards have."

 Meanwhile, Ms Jennex said her staff would be reading about 1,200 pages of documents related to the freedom of information request and preparing a report for her, which she would consider along with the outcome of this week's board meeting before making any final decisions about how she may respond.

 Regardless, the minister made a commitment to take time from her vacation this week to answer questions from the Progress Bulletin following the board meeting.

 "I told my communications person here and also my secretary that I am making myself available to respond to this."

 Last month, this newspaper made a pair of unsuccessful interview requests through Department of Education communications staff for officials to answer questions about the matter, but Ms Jennex said she was never briefed about that.

 "I would have definitely made the time to speak with you."



posted on 07/19/11
comments powered by Disqus
Sections
 
Navigation
 
Our archivesSubscribeSend feedbackPrivacy PolicyRSS headlines Add RSS Headlines
© 2013 Lighthouse Media Group
  
Home >
Tearsheets
Market square
Community calendar
Education
Employment
Subscriptions
Testimonials
Contact us
News >
Online Edition
News videos
News archives
Special supplements
Regional media
Subscription
Follow us on Twitter

About>
About us
Meet the team
Contact us
Video >
All videos
3 on 3 — Local Sports
About — Real People
Face to Face
Platform
On Business
U-Vid — Youth Video
S-Video Festival
Video Archive
What's Cookin'
Advertising videos
Festivals and events
News now
Take me home
Streeters
Design Studio >
Web design
Video production
Print design
Print work

Shopping >
Store flyers

Advertise with us >
Ad rates
Online classifieds
Newspaper classifieds
Web advertising
Community >
Blogs
Events
Facebook
Our social network
Guestbook

Announcements >
Obituaries
Contact to make announcement

TV GUIDES >
Earth friendly news
Printable Guide
TV Passport
Useful pages >
Auto guide
Education
Employment
Gardening
Gas prices
Greatest Loser
Green Pages
History
Tourism
Newsletters >
Breaking news
General news
Entertainment
Online subscriber notification


Fun & games >
Contests
Captain Lighthouse
Crosswords
E-cards