The Strait regional school board held its final monthly meeting on March 7.

PORT HAWKESBURY: Strait regional school board (SRSB) officials gathered for their final monthly meeting on March 7.

Bill 72 passed through the legislature last week, bringing sweeping changes to Nova Scotia’s education system, including the dissolution of all elected English boards by the end of the month.

“On March 31, we’ll no longer be a governing school board,” said SRSB chair Jamie Samson following Wednesday’s board meeting. “Before that time, we’ll have to take care of some small housekeeping, but for the time being, the business of the board is concluded.”

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Samson said there is disappointment among board members regarding the government’s decision. He is unsure exactly what the new structure will look like, but said he is pleased with the work the board has done over the years.

“We’ve worked hard for student success all along, and we’re confident that whatever the new structure will be, it will still be focused on student success and achievement, and we’ll move on,” he said.

SRSB superintendent Ford Rice said the current board office and staff will remain in place and a new entity will be formed called the Strait Regional Centre for Education. Parents and guardians will be able to access their regional education centres with questions and concerns.

“I will remain in place under my title as the regional executive director for education of the Strait Regional Centre for Education,” said Rice.

Rice said there would be no layoffs for board staff as a result of the changes.

“The minister was very clear with the announcement of moving forward with the Glaze report that there would not be a loss of jobs,” said Rice. “Savings will be achieved other ways, through attrition, and other things down the road.”

During Wednesday’s meeting, Rice delivered his final report to the SRSB as superintendent. He highlighted some of the achievements of the board over the years, including the establishment of two standalone skilled trades centres, with a third to open at Richmond Education Centre/Academy in the fall. He also noted improvements that have been made to technology and infrastructure within the SRSB.

“I’m fortunate that under my leadership and with the leadership of the governing board, we were able move a lot of things forward during my short six years here and I just want to thank the board for that,” he said.