AIMS continues its fight to obtain basic information about the performance of Nova Scotia’s public schools. It’s heading to court in an effort to get the last school board in the province to comply.

The one board that is still demanding thousands of dollars for this basic public information is the Halifax Regional School Board.

The Nova Scotia Freedom of Information/Protection of Privacy Review Officer, in a series of reports early this year, forcefully stated that the release of this information is in the public interest. He ordered that all school boards should move immediately to release the information requested by AIMS and put processes in place to ensure the information is easily accessible in future.

Review Officer Darce Fardy wrote; “[I]t’s my view for a school board to be “fully accountable” it should be in a position to provide the type of statistics being requested in this case in a timely fashion and should require schools to provide that kind of information to school boards.” And he recommends that school boards “put processes in place to provide similar information (to the public) at a minimal cost in the future…”

School boards around the province complied, and have made the information public at no cost. The Halifax board has not. The next step is court, and AIMS has written an open letter to superintendent of the Halifax regional board suggesting the Halifax school board comply with the intent of the decision reports, provide the information at no cost, and avoid the court battle.

To read the complete letter to the Halifax Regional School Board, click here. 

School Board Superintendent Carole Olsen says it will cost $5,000 to collect the information and the board can’t afford the cost. However, it’s estimated by continuing to court the School Board will spend at least that much in lawyers’ fees.  

To read the Decision Reports from the Freedom of Information Review Officer, please check  the links below:

The Nova Scotia Department of Education is also on side. In June of 2006, it sent this letter to AIMS saying it is now putting a system in place to ensure all such data about our public schools in the province is available to everyone. 

AIMS was forced to apply under the FOI/POP legislation when Nova Scotia school boards refused to provide the information, or demanded tens of thousands in dollars in fees to produce it. In New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador this information is readily available without need to resort to FOI requests and Prince Edward Island’s two school districts provided all the information requested for a fee of $2,000. The appeal under the FOI/POP legislation began in November of 2005, with this letter.

If you are interested in more information about this case, please contact the AIMS office at [email protected]