Saskatoon Public Schools' Board of Education is made up of 10 trustees. Trustees are elected to represent specific wards, or areas, of the city during elections that are held in conjunction with Saskatoon's municipal elections. Trustees serve four-year terms.
The duties and powers of school boards, and the trustees who serve on them, are set out in Section 85 of The Education Act. Among them are:
- To hire and direct the director of education;
- To approve the budget;
- To approve the program of studies;
- To determine the facility plans; and
- To appoint qualified teachers.
The statutory (decided or controlled by law) duties of trustees are:
- To act honestly, in good faith and in the best interests of the organization;
- To exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person; and
- To comply with the act, regulations and bylaws.
Additional rules of the road are set out in The Education Regulations, which is a supplement to The Education Act, and the Saskatoon Public Schools Board Policy Manual.
The primary duty of trustees is corporate governance through oversight, direction and control of the school division. Good governance requires:
- Good decision-making;
- The rule of law;
- Efficiency; and
Some of the tools trustees use to do the job are: the school division's strategic plan, a risk assessment, an annual budget that supports board priorities, the delegation of authority, financial statements, the annual report, and annual board and director evaluations.
Because trustees are responsible for high-level corporate governance, they must remain independent of operations. To achieve this separation, the board hires just one employee — the director of education — who is tasked with fulfilling the board's priorities and strategic directions across the division. That separation between governance and operations — whereby trustees do not involve themselves in day-to-day operations of schools and the director of education does not get involved in governance — is key to the corporate governance model.
Trustees, as individuals, have no authority over anyone or anything (by rule of law). The board makes decisions collectively that are in the best interest of the entire division and, once a decision is made, trustees speak with one voice in support of that decision
Working with parents
Political advocacy on behalf of Saskatoon Public Schools, and public education across the province, is an important part of trustees' work. As with all its relationships, the board is deliberate and prudent in its dealings with government but sometimes, parents can play a role in this effort. When the voices of parents and taxpayers are added to the conversation, people pay attention.
Parents are the eyes and ears of the school board in the community; trustees appreciate your experiences and perspectives. When issues arise, we ask that you follow the division's communications protocol.
When the issue involves your child or school, please contact, in order:
- Classroom teacher
- School principal or vice-principal
- School superintendent
- Director of education
When the issue relates to the entire school division, please contact your trustee.