Manitoba School Board Association's president says there is no evidence that amalgamating school divisions will save money.

Alan Campbell, President of the Manitoba School Board Association, is concerned about the potential changes to educational infrastructure.

"The last number of days have been extremely sad if I am being honest, for those of us in governance positions but also everyone in education," Campbell says. "The removal of democratic accountability that exists in locally-elected school boards will not save any money."

He says it will likely increase costs while not improving student education, taking away democratic processes in the system.

CampbellCampbell speaking during a regional meeting in 2019. (Manitoba School Boards Association/Facebook)

Knowing it is a possibility the NDP will oppose this piece of legislation, Campbell says there will be an opportunity for parents and other stakeholders to publically make their case against amalgamation.

"I would encourage every Manitoban to read the report of the Grade K-12 review because what that report recommends and what the government has gone ahead and done are two very different things."

There is also an online survey from the province. The Manitoba School Board Association has created a resource for people connecting with their MLAsconnecting with their MLAs, something they are hoping Manitobans do.

One of the biggest reasons being given by the Government of Manitoba for the change is $40 million in financial savings, planning to put those savings towards the classroom. Campbell says there is no evidence to support amalgamating will save money.

"There is no evidence anywhere that points to that would say that our academic outcomes would improve, that students and families are going to be better served by the system, or that it is going to save any money."

He says a fraction of a cent of every education dollar goes towards administration.

Campbell says the overall idea to amalgamate was first introduced in 2018 by then-Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen. Knowing this could be a possibility, Campbell says the board spent the past while sharing why they do not want to get rid of school boards.

"On one hand it is extremely disheartening because when the government did its consultations of the K-12 review, we at the school boards association along with school boards across the province were heavily engaged in consultations that took place around Manitoba."

Campbell says in the report, there was no recommendation to amalgamate the entire province, only to scale down the number of existing boards with consultations with communities, having local boards still exist with a mix of appointed and elected local trustees

Not yet knowing when the change will happen, the President is anticipating the changes to be completed before the 2022-23 school year.