The first week of school under the new system that has one English school board in charge of the whole province has begun.
There is every attempt being made by officials to calm fears that students and teachers will pay the price for the money saved by the government.
This is a geographically massive and sparsely populated province and those setting up and operating the new board will have their hands full living up to their mandate.
The board is based in St. John’s and there are fears by teachers and parents that rural and remote schools just won’t get the attention and support they need and are used to having under the old system.
There still remains offices and experts in the regions but the decision will be made in the capital by those who are based there.
New CEO Darrin Pike has made it clear that he and his staff are aware of the fears and have made it a priority that full attention will be paid to all areas of the province — urban or rural.
That is a good start but it must show up in reality, not just in good intentions.
This arrangement came about because the provincial government was intent on cutting costs, not to improve the education system or improve services for students.
It’s a grand experiment and it had better not fail.
These financial decisions have a direct impact on the lives of children of all ages.
If there are problems — in the classroom or in the administration offices — it will have a lasting impact on students.
Educators can’t go back and make things right ... they have to meet a high standard from the first day.
It’s a gamble that must do more than reduce the provincial deficit.