Living Skies School Division may be looking at some lean times in the near future. Lean as in Lean, that is.
Saskatchewan plans to be the first provincial government in Canada to incorporate the Lean approach throughout its public service. Based on the productive year-long experience in the Ministry of Health resulting in savings of $3.2 million through eliminating waste, the government sees Lean as a best practice method of eliminating workplace waste, variation and work imbalance. The government plans to expand the Lean initiative to all government ministries.
That includes the Ministry of Education, and, as a result, the province's school divisions are being asked to look for savings through efficiencies that do not affect front-line services.
The Lean initiative will be the topic of discussion this fall when regular board meetings of Living Sky School Division resume.
Director of Education Randy Fox says the division should be getting more information from the Ministry of Education as the initiative progresses.?
"I understand that training will be coming but do not know any details regarding Living Sky School Division's involvement in the training," says Fox.
The government announced earlier this year it is conducting a third-party review to help understand where efficiencies can be realized, as well as how school divisions can achieve increased efficiencies in their operations.
"Improving student outcomes is the focus of the education system and we need to take a critical look at existing expenditures and determine whether they ultimately benefit students in Saskatchewan," Education Minister Donna Harpauer said.
"We need to ensure we have the proper supports in place in order for students to achieve."
The Ministry of Education approached the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, Saskatchewan Association of School Business Officials and the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents to participate in the work to select an external resource to conduct the efficiency review, and a final report is to be submitted to the ministry by February 2013.
"There is some very positive work already being done by school divisions to find efficiencies, so we will take advantage of these approaches and look for ways to expand them," Harpauer said.
"School divisions are doing similar types of administrative functions in some cases, such as payroll and purchasing. These are some of the areas where we can focus our attention as part of the efficiency initiative."
Besides increased student achievement, the ministry's efficiency initiative is also intended to improve accountability and governance in the Saskatchewan education system.?