Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Did you feel the earth move? I didn't.

Today marks the official start of a new term for school board trustees across Ontario. Some boards area already having their inaugural meetings this evening to select their new chairs and vice-chairs. Others will happen in the coming week, before boards squeeze in their last meeting before the holiday break at the end of the month. The only coverage I've seen in today's media (cursory sweep) was Moira MacDonald's regular Wednesday column in the Sun.
Any predictions?
I've previously mentioned here how I think this coming term, in some of the largest boards, will be dominated by questions of accommodation and enrolment. But with a provincial election in the offing and, potentially, a new government in power by this time in 2011, it could be a very quiet first year to the term. There's still, overall, a hush in the opposition benches when it comes to tackling anything related to education-- with the brief exception of Tim Hudak's assertion he would bring back the fall report card if elected.
There's some thought that a key portion of the Liberals' election platform will be accelerating the implementation of full-day kindergarten, however that's dependent on money too and some boards (see: Peel) are already coughing up the cost of this program that they tried to choke down for this fiscal year. With many ECE contracts yet to be settled -- and over time I would expect these ECEs to be paid more than educational assistants -- this may determine the ultimate cost pressure on the program. One-time renovation costs can be amortized, just like virtually all of the improvements, renovations, expansions and new construction in the education sector since the Liberals took office in 2003.
Here's to the next four years.