A rumour has been floating for months that Mike McKay, former superintendent of Surrey school district, would join the B.C. Education Ministry.
On Friday, that rumour was confirmed with a ministry announcement that McKay is the new strategic adviser to Education Minister Peter Fassbender on “shared services governance and other opportunities to strengthen co-governance processes.”
What that means isn’t entirely clear. The release says only that he will work with school districts to encourage them to share more services in order to reduce overhead costs and direct savings to the classroom.
An auditor’s report in 2012 outlined ways in which the 60 school districts could save money through collaboration in areas such as procurement, labour litigation and attendance support, the release notes. McKay’s job will be to continue work in that area.
His second responsibility is more of a mystery, with the release stating: “In a similar vein, Mike will also work with the sector to strengthen and refine governance process in other areas, to ensure we are working with common purpose on key goals like education transformation, learning outcomes and skills training.”
McKay’s contract is for three months, with total compensation of $50,000, plus up to $10,000 in expenses, Fassbender told the legislature.
McKay retired from the Surrey school district in December, but continues to be the official trustee for Cowichan Valley school district. He was hired for that job after then education minister George Abbott fired the elected trustees for refusing to submit a balanced budget.
He is also project director of the Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative, which promotes the idea that a child’s ability to self-regulate – to remain calmly focused and alert – has a dramatic impact on his or her ability to learn.