Staff at the Western School District were given their notices last week as the province moves toward creating one English school board for the whole province.
The change was mandated in the provincial budget in the spring as a way to reduce costs.
The main administration for all English schools in the province will now be run out of St. John’s, what appears to be a massive task considering the sprawling territory involved.
The board will have responsibility for schools from the northernmost of Labrador to the Avalon and every school in-between.
The board was expected to be up and running by the time this school year begins, but that is going to take some doing.
The school year is barely a few weeks away and these layoffs have just been issued, which means the outgoing boards are just being wound up.
The new mega-board has had just half a calendar year to get its office established, staff hired and plans implemented.
This could be a difficult year of transition for the board, and more importantly, students and teachers it is mandated to provide support for.
This appears to be another in a long line of poorly planned cost-saving initiatives brought in by the provincial Tories, who are facing a couple of years of massive budget shortfalls because of a drop in oil production — and a lot less money for the provincial treasury.
Little analysis seems to have been done into the impact of the cuts in many areas and the gutting of the school board system could end up being one of the failures.
That won’t mean much to those who are issuing the penny-pinching directives in the political sphere, but it could be a frustrating and vexing year for students, parents and teachers.