Nov 7, 2011
By Linda Travers
In Part 5 of Time for Some Changes, I suggested it was time to change the culture of the current Board of Education. We have the opportunity to do that with the upcoming election.
For the past 3 years, I’ve attended almost all the Board of Education meetings. My overall impression is that the elected trustees just simply approve what the Secretary-Treasurer and District Superintendent suggest. One must be in attendance at meeting to see how trustees vote. It is almost impossible for a member of the public to track trustees’ voting records. The minutes of the past three years do not show who makes a motion or how individual trustees vote on motions. You’ll find the occasional reference if a trustee has specifically asked for his/her negative vote to be recorded.
I choose to elect trustees who have demonstrated and will encourage decision making in an open, transparent public process that is responsible, good for public education and makes financial sense.
Here is a brief summary of my personal choices for SD 61 trustee candidates:
(Note: VPEC is NOT endorsing candidates)
1. Edith Loring-Kuhanga – as a former trustee in SD63 (Saanich) she brings knowledge and experience in how good decisions are made. Have a look at the information in various sections of the SD63 (Saanich) website http://www.sd63.bc.ca/ compared to the SD61 (Greater Victoria) website http://www.sd61.bc.ca/default.aspx
2. Diane McNally – as a former Reading Recovery teacher, she knows the importance of early intervention for students experiencing difficulty. She understands that a year in the life of a student not receiving appropriate placement is not commitment “to each student’s success in learning within a responsive and safe environment” (SD61 Mission Statement).
3. Deborah Nohr – over the past three years, she has brought teachers and parents to Board meetings to tell trustees about the situations students face in District classrooms. She also brought invitations from ten teachers inviting trustees to visit their classrooms to observe firsthand. No current trustees accepted the invitations.
4. Peg Orcherton – the only incumbent trustee I am voting for. She believes in open, transparent governance. She has tried to get motions on the floor for discussion. The lack of a following of Roberts’ Rules of Order by the Chair has led to confusion. Often neither the trustees nor the public in attendance understand the outcome.
5. Rob Paynter – he correctly pointed out to the current trustees, unhappy with Stantec’s Strategic Facilities report, that one must have a Request for Proposal with checks and balances throughout the process.
It is not necessary to vote for 9 trustees.
The Fernwood Community Association held a Trustee Candidates’ meeting on Nov. 1 providing an opportunity to hear and ask 13 of the 16 candidates about their platforms. It was unfortunate that Trustees Holland, Leonard and Young were not in attendance.
There will be Trustee Candidates’ meetings sponsored by the Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.
Wednesday Nov. 9th 7-9 p.m. at Spectrum Community School
Tuesday Nov. 15th 7-9 p.m. at Reynolds Secondary School.
I hope you will be able to attend one of the meetings to help you decide on whom to vote for on Nov. 19.