Special Board Meeting Aug 25/14: Trustee Elections Bylaw / Board Letters #5

No recording is available at this time as the Board office is behind a picket line. The meeting took place at Goward House, 2495 Arbutus Road. No pagination as this was a short meeting.


A. Commencement of Meeting

[We thank the Coast Salish people for allowing this meeting on their Territory.]

A.1 Approval of Agenda: Approved unanimously with addition of report by Superintendent at C; move C and D down. [Full packup with Bylaw and changes linked]

B. Bylaw 9005: Trustee Elections and By-Elections

Recommended Motions: [Secretary-Treasurer]: That the Board agree to give all three readings of Bylaw 9005 Trustee Elections and By-Elections at the meeting of August 25, 2014. Motion to be carried unanimously. / Carried unanimously.

That Bylaw 9005, Trustee Elections and By-Elections be read 1st, 2nd, 3d time, passed and adopted this 25th day of August, 2014./ Carried unanimously.

  • McNally: The CRD on the list will confuse voters. What part of the CRD is included in the voting area for SD61 Trustees? Aren’t all the municipalities listed in the CRD?
  • Secretary-Treasurer: This is the way it has to be listed according to electoral areas.

Post-meeting research: Highlands is a separate municipality, so should be listed as Saanich is. SD61 serves only a portion of Saanich, so Highlands can be listed as Saanich is, since SD61 serves only a portion of the Highlands as well. The CRD Juan De Fuca electoral area includes the Esquimalt and Songhees Reserves which are within the Greater Victoria School District. It is those reserves that the “CRD” term refers to. I hope in the final version of this Bylaw that the reserves will be named, at least in parentheses. I will bring a motion to amend (seconded Loring-Kuhanga) to that effect if necessary when the Bylaw is finalized.

C. Superintendent’s Report

  • The Tolmie Building has been behind pickets but schools haven’t, so CUPE and Facilities could go in to do summer work.
  • No pickets with “3d party construction companies” working at Quadra School and Oak Bay Secondary. These companies can get injunctions to allow work to go on.
  • Two person support in place in Tolmie Building (some staff are temporarily working out of the Cecila Street facility): Vicki Hanley, Executive Assistant to Secretary-Treasurer, and Nita McBurney, Legal Executive Assistant to Superintendent of Schools.
  • 470 new International students started orientation today. International student tuition adds teachers and courses in schools that might not be affordable otherwise [page 7 of the 2014-15 budget records "Tuition" at $8,478,083]. Dave Scott, International Education Contact  is developing a contingency plan along with Superintendent. 500 previous International students will be returning; these are full year students, not counting part time students.  [The International School has its own marketing website, which looks like its own school system. There's a small SD61 logo down in the right bottom The "Programs" drop down menu outlines the various offerings, some as short as one month for $2305 tuition.]
  • At Quadra, some construction will finish after school opens.
  • George Jay School will move to Richmond campus so seismic upgrades can take place.
  • Loring-Kuhanga: Noticing lots of ads for private schools. We need to have more presence for SD61 registration and publicize that schools are open for registration.
  • Superintendent: Have been ads in newspaper. Superintendent and Board Chair have been interviewed. Information is on the SD61 website and a letter went home to parents.[Letter below]
  • Loring-Kuhanga: Private schools have 25 foot banners up on fences.
  • Superintendent: Lots of SD61 schools have banners. Teachers on picket lines have been welcoming parents and students.
  • Horsman: Have heard that there will be no extra curricular activities – any truth in that?
  • Orcherton: We don’t know that.

D. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items: No in camera meeting preceding.

E. Adjournment:  [As in 99% of meetings, Ferris, and once in the middle of a meeting]  Ferris: Motion to adjourn. / Carried. 7 pm

Letters from School Boards #5

In the BCSTA Back To School Plan below, teacher are asked to lower their expectations for salary and benefits. BC teachers are among the lowest paid in Canada. Beginning teachers in BC are paid the second lowest salary in public schools in Canada, above only Prince Edward Island. The government considers CUPE Education Assistants  for  children with special needs a “benefit” fo teachers, like glasses or massage therapy treatments. Ridiculous? Yes, Duplicitous? Yes. Disrespectful of children with special needs and their parents? Yes.

Although the BCSTA is “my” organization, as an individual Trustee, for the above reasons,  I can’t support the Back To School Plan.


2014 August 19 SD45 West Van 12014 August 19 SD45 West Van 22014 August 20 Marchbank to Iker2014 August 22 SD38 Richmond 12014 August 22 SD38 Richmond 2 2014 August 25 SD20 Kootenay Columbia2014 August 25 SD47 Powell River2014 August 25 SD61 Greater Victoria to parents2014 August 25 SD70 Alberni2014 August 27 SD40 New WEst2014 August 27 SD67 Okanagan Skaha2014 August 27 SD72 Coast Mountains 12014 August 27 SD72 Coast Mountains 22014 August 29 SD43 Coquitlam 12014 August 29 SD43 Coquitlam 22014 August 29 SD85 Vancouver Island North2014 August 28 TRezansoff BCSTA2014 August 28 BCSTA Back to School Plan2014 August 28 Back To School Plan 2

Bee Garden

Bee Garden

Eggs on pansy leaf

Seeds  on pansy leaf

Teacher Negotiations August 2014: “The System” Is Not Broken

One more BC Education summer challenge: Let’s have a conversation about K-12 public education in BC without using the exceptionally tired and empty phrase “the system is broken” (Times-Colonist Editorial, August 2). The “system” is collective bargaining, and it is not broken. One of the parties continually refuses to play by the rules of engagement, as ideologically, that party – that would be the current government of British Columbia – has zero interest in recognizing unionized workers or collective bargaining, and is doing everything it can do ensure a workers’ race to the bottom when unions are dismantled and workers are forced to undersell themselves to get even precarious employment.

The Ministry of Education is hanging on to an “opt-out clause” that says that either party can opt out of the coming court judgment on the government’s appeal of Supreme Court Justice Susan Griffin’s restoration of class size and composition language illegally stripped from the teachers’ contracts in 2001 by then-Education Minister Christy Clark. This opt out clause looks like equality for both parties but it’s clear who is going to lose in the appeal: Since 2001 BC courts have found this government to have broken the law in regard to teachers’ contracts three times, with the government ignoring those judgments. This government can afford to wait out long court fights and file appeal after appeal, while in the interim unilaterally imposing expedient legislation. In 2002 Christy Clark brought in Bill 28 (only one example of such legislation) the Public Education Flexibility and Choice Act, which the BCTF fought in court for years, with several sections finally struck down in 2011 by the BC Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

Who else could get away with carrying on with no consequence after being found in contravention of the law three times by BC high courts? ? If you and I break the law we are called “criminals”.

It is on public record that the strategy of this government has been to provoke the BCTF into striking, not to come to collective bargaining in good faith.

It’s clear now if it wasn’t before that this government has applied essential services legislation to K-12 public education in British Columbia not because they think it is essential – obviously, education isn’t essential for the coming September as the obvious objective is to turn the populace against the BCTF, so privatized education will step into the void. If handing over $40 per child per day of public tax dollars marked for education is so easy, wait for the per pupil grant of $6900 to be handed over, and kiss public education in BC goodbye.

Christy Clark’s dream of user-pay stealth taxes for everything and a society devoid of social goods after cutting taxes drastically though the early 2000s, is on the cusp of realization. Taking down the BCTF has always been critical to achieve this, as a fully funded public education has always been a centrepiece of a democratic society that values principles of social justice.

We have a fundamentally broken provincial government, not a “broken system”.

  • Published in Victoria Times Colonist August 10, 2014.
  • School Trustee on the Board of Education of School District 61 Greater Victoria since January 2012. Retired from teaching June  2011 after 35 years in classrooms as a member of  ATA, CUPE, and BCTF (plus 5 years TTOC).
  • Graduated with  B.Ed from the University of Victoria, MBA from Royal Roads University, 5 year French Language and Literature Diploma University of Victoria.