Trustee Report December 2012

Trustee Nohr…Report #12  SD 61

First Priority Always…Advocacy for Our Children 

December 31, 2012       What’s Going On At the Board

Highlights:
Trustees Elections for 2013…..No New Trustees Included!
Elections were held by trustees for the following positions:

  • Chair- Peg Orcherton
  • Vice Chair- Bev Horsman
  • Rep for BCPSEA (British Columbia Public School Employers’ Assoc.)- Tom Ferris
  • Rep for BCSTA (British Columbia School Trustees’ Assoc. Provincial Councillor- Bev Horsman
  • Rep for VILRA (Vancouver Island Labour Relations Assoc.)- Tom Ferris
  • Chair- Operations, Policy and Planning Com’t- Elaine Leonard
  • Chair- Education Policy Com’t- Catherine Alpha

Unfortunately, none of the newly elected trustees ( Diane McNally, Edith Loring-Kuhanga, Deborah Nohr ) were elected to any positions.
This is unfortunate because these trustee bring some new ideas, energy and connection with the community to their work.
Question and Answer Debate…goes on and on!

Rachel Franklin, a parent, strongly encouraged the trustees to get on with it and immediately include a Q&A at Board meetings as did all members of the public at that meeting. This request fell on deaf ears and the Q&A issue is now going to a new ad hoc committee (Public Engagement Committee) for review. Interestingly, Michael McEvoy, a trustee, asked why there were no members of the public on this committee? Peg Orcherton and Bev Horsman gave their very weak rationales. Peg Orcherton asked how she could possibly develop a process to include the public? Michael McEvoy stated that it was very important to have the public involved. And thus, Peg took a breath and accepted this position after rejecting our very same request to include the public. We (Trustee McNally and Trustee Nohr) are waiting to hear about the date for the first meeting so we can attend as observers because Peg Orcherton and Bev Horsman were strongly opposed to following the district’s own Bylaw 9140.4 of including trustees/rep. of the public on this committee! Again, trustee McEvoy enthusiastically stated that, of course, trustees could attend this committee! Trustee Orcherton and Trustee Horsman, unfortunately have resisted change that is important and reflects current thinking about public bodies and their connection to their citizens
We have updated our Child Abuse Policy 5140.1.

Coming soon….trustee remuneration! Should trustees have a raise when CUPE and GVTA did not get a raise last year? I say NO! We need to remember the equity principle.
MOTIONS, MOTIONS, MOTIONS…

Recommended Motions:

  • i. The Board of Education School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) from and ad Hoc Committee to review Bylaw 9360 to make recommendations for enhancements for public engagement including a structure for a possible Question and Answer period. The Ad Hoc Committee will include one representative from ASA, CUPE 382, CUPE 947, Exempt, GVTA VCPAC, VPVPA, and the Superintendent of Schools. The committee will report to the Operations, Policy and Planning Committee and will be at no cost to the Board.
  • ii. That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) amend bylaw 9368 ‘Procedure’, Article 107.00 to read: “Any Trustee may challenge the ruling of the Chair, according to Robert’s Rules of Order. The Trustee making the challenge (with a seconder) will be asked by the Chair to state the challenge; debate will occur according to Roberts Rules of Order; a vote to sustain the Chair will follow debate.
  • iii. That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) adopt the revised Policy 5140.1, Child Abuse.

Wi-Fi….What is going on? I’m confused!
The wifi issue is complex in large part due to the fact that issues and motions have not been addressed in a timely manner over the past year and a half. At one point, there was to be a discussion and possible motions brought forward about a moratorium on wifi in K to 5 schools and a district policy on ‘duty to accommodate’ students with sensibilities to EMR. At this time, a year and a half after it was first discussed, there is finally a moratorium and that means no more District installation and no more retail devices installed by teachers. I am concerned that neither the trustees or the wifi committee have addressed the ‘duty to accommodate’ issue. I will be putting this forward to the next OPPs meeting. Apparently, the wifi committee was to have only one meeting. That doesn’t make sense since there are so many important issues that remain unaddressed.

The wifi committee is waiting to hear back from the VCPAC, our parents organization. I have serious concerns about the lack of democratic representation by this organization. They do not represent 50% or more of our school based PACs. I would suggest that the wifi Chair send out an email to the school based PAC presidents and ask them to discuss this important issue at their January meeting using some survey questions and return their responses for the February OPPs meeting. Remember, School Planning Councils provide feedback each year around the budget issues.

I don’t support school by school decisions for wifi installation. The Board should make a district determination based on health, safety and the precautionary principle and keep our elementary schools hard wired.

This Government’s dreadful and persistent cuts to our District’s Budget
In October, the Ministry of Ed. informed our District that we would need to cover the costs of our teachers’ pension increase to the tune of $1.2M. What!!! We have never been responsible for this provincial cost. Then in December, again, the Ministry of Education, under the Cooperative Gains Mandate which they NEVER discussed with us, sent a letter directing our District to find 1.5% savings this year and next from our CUPE budget for a total of $500,000 each year. What!!! You have to be kidding. But, no! Not this government. Remember, large corporations have had their taxes reduced from16.5% to 9% and that equals anywhere from $500,000M to $1B eliminated from general revenue each year and that means PUBLIC EDUCATION is the victim of this fiscal mismanagement! We DO NOT have these funds.
Parents please send a brief but clear directive to your MLA, Premier/ M of Ed and say that this is not acceptable for our children.

Thank you,
Your trustee,
Deborah Nohr ( 250-380-0888 or 250-896-0808-c )
Please write a quick e-mail…and express your ideas and feedback to the Premier and Minister of Education.

• premier@gov.bc.ca
• *minister.educ@gov.bc.ca
• MLA Finder- drop down menu / easy to use
• robin.austin.mla@leg.bc.ca education critic

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