The first day of school is just around the corner.
And it appears as though our education system is attempting to save money. They are squeezing everywhere they can.
But sometimes (many times) they squeeze too hard or in the wrong places.
Sometime over the last year the Department of Education decided it would centralize it procurement operations for the province. They decided it would be a good budget decision to have all purchases of in-school equipment go through Halifax.
And it does make some sense.
Except when they get really cheap.
In the news this week is how the all text book orders have been awarded to an American company. I guess I should get used to my kids saying ‘zee’ and forgetting their ‘u’ in words like favourite and neighbour, which they already do on a regular basis.
The other problem with this centralized procurement system is that it shuts out the local business. Several office supplies stores in Cape Breton were the suppliers of paper, pens, staplers, whatever your office needed… but that is no more. These small businesses have lost their largest customer, and they are going to have to lay off employees because of it… at the very least. A couple may even be forced to re-evaluate the future of their business.
So yes, I am in favour of saving money.
But not at the cost of impacting local economies which depend on the business. Not at the cost of losing teachers in the classrooms instead of bloated school board administrations.
Centralize to save money? Yes!
But maybe we should be looking at something like how many school boards and staff we have rather than who supplies the pencils and paint brushes.