SD61 Board Meeting, Sept16/13: The Record Off The Record: Student Trustee

McNally: That the Board of Education SD61 Greater Victoria establish a position of Student Trustee (from Grade 10, 11 or 12, with voice but no vote) on the SD61 Board and Standing Committees, that the position be supported by an honorarium or credit to be determined by the Board along with the student’s school administration annually, that the term be for one school year September 1 – June 30, and that a Student Trustee information handbook be developed.

Heads up:  The Report of the SD61 Committee on Public Engagement is posted on the SD61 website. Have a look at the 14 strictures on asking a question at a Board meeting if you’re a member of the public, and more interesting thoughts on public engagement. (My motion to have at least one trustee on this Committee failed.) This Report’s recommendations will come to the Board for a vote.

Shout out:  To the Facilities Department for outstanding work over the 2013 summer! Pics in the SD61 Photo Gallery.

The Record Off The Record is my personal record of and commentary on Board and Standing Committee meetings in School District 61 (Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal and a portion of Saanich and Highlands ).  “Official” approved minutes of Board  and Standing Committee  meetings are posted on the SD61 website under the “Board of Education” menu  (Education Policy Development Committee  posted as “Education Meetings”; Operations Policy and Planning Committee  posted as “Operations Meetings”) generally one month after the meeting.

Reports from In Camera meetings are posted on the Board meeting page as “Section 72 Reports”. “Section 72” refers to Section 72 (3) of the BC School Act which states “ A board must prepare a record containing a general statement as to the nature of the matters discussed and the general nature of the decisions reached at a meeting from which persons other than trustees or officers of the board, or both, were excluded, and the record must be open for inspection at all reasonable times by any person, who may make copies and extracts on payment of a fee set by the board.”

The public meeting schedule is posted on the District Calendar. Trustees  are referred to by last name only for brevity; motions are shortened for readability but retain the essential wording (complete wording can be accessed on the meeting agenda).  No audio recordings are made of Standing Committee meetings, only of Board meetings. [No record of how the audio recording decision was made, or any debate on proposed uses of and storage of the record appears to exist.] Audio files below.

Trustee Assignments December 2012-December 2013
Trustee Assignments December 2012-December 2013

Clarification re above assignments: I am not on the GVTA Negotiations Advisory Committee, though that’s what this assignment (by the Chair) chart says. I do not know  what the SD61 overall bargaining objectives are, although as a Trustee I am responsible for them. (Interesting.) And I still don’t know if the GVTA Negotiations Advisory Committee above is the same thing as the two trustees who sit at the local issues bargaining table with the teacher employee group, or if that is called something else. (Some explanations just don’t explain anything.) Two trustees do sit at that table and neither of them is me, since they are Orcherton and Ferris, not Orcherton and me.(Yikes, I’ve been replaced!)  I do know what the GVTA’s bargaining objective are, as they are publicly available on the GVTA website, along with bargaining bulletins to the GVTA membership, also publicly available. The BC School Trustees Association states: “Trustees in some districts participate directly in union negotiations; in other districts the bargaining is left to staff and the board approves the negotiated agreements.”

Trustees in SD61 do not have any part in developing bargaining objectives, although we are publicly responsible  for them.  Discovering  what they are can be surprising. A recent public petition developed by the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association employee group is a case in point. Although the petitioners got the name of the Board Vice-Chair wrong (it’s Horsman, not Ferris), the points made in the petition seem completely aligned with Human Rights legislation.

Audio files:












An In Camera Meeting  preceded the public Board meeting. 6:15 – 7:30.

A. Commencement of Meeting: Chair Orcherton
Recognition of Songhees and Esquimalt Nations’ traditional territories.
A.1. Approval of the Agenda: Approved, with addition of Notice of Motion (Student Trustee) at F.2 (McNally)
A.2. Approval of the Minutes
a) Minutes of June 17, 2013: Approved
A.3. Business Arising From the Minutes: None
A.4. Trustee Censure: The Chair read a statement of censure of a Trustee, as a result of an investigation.

A.5 Student Achievement: A decision was made in February 2013 via vote to discontinue recording of students who present at Board meetings due to  a belief of a majority of trustees that this would  endanger students, although they are (voluntarily and with parent permission)  at a public meeting. On occasion, photos of presenting students and at times their first names and  their school appear on the District Board Highlights page. Recording begins when student presentations have finished.

a) Strawberry Vale Elementary School: Integrating Technology Into the Classroom: Five students gave an excellent, creative and very enjoyable team presentation of some of their productions and learning using apps on MacBooks. The school uses a mobile laptop cart which provides access to 30 laptops.  Among the the featured apps:

A.6. District Presentations: None
A.7. Community Presentations:

a) Heidi Darroch, Gifted Children’s Association of BC:

b) Dr. Jennifer White, UVic School of Child and Youth Care: Youth Suicide Prevention

  • Dr. Jennifer White is an Associate Professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. Jennifer has worked in the human services sector for over two decades and she has practiced in the field of youth suicide prevention since 1988. Jennifer has an MA in Counselling Psychology and an EdD in Educational Leadership. Jennifer has practiced as a clinical counsellor, educator, policy consultant, researcher, and community developer. In 2004 Jennifer received the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) Service Award in recognition for her leadership and contributions to the practice of youth suicide prevention. Jennifer began her professional career as a child and youth care practitioner in a large residential treatment facility in Calgary where she worked for four years. Jennifer worked as a clinical counsellor at SAFER Counselling Service, Vancouver Coastal Health from 1988-1991 and from 2002-2004. From 1991-1995, she worked as the Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the Mental Health Division, Alberta Health. Prior to coming to the School of Child and Youth Care in 2004, Jennifer served for seven years as the Director of the Suicide Prevention Information and Resource Centre at Mental Health Evaluation and Community Consultation Unit (MHECCU), Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia. ” Dr White has published extensively on the topic.

c) Kelly Paul, Heliset Hale  Marathon : Preventing Youth Suicide

  • In the Sencoten language “Heliset Hale” means  “awaken life within you”.
  • Kelly Paul is a member of the Tsartlip First Nation Community in WSANEC. She is currently a First Nation Education Assistant at Bayside Middle School, SD63 (Saanich).
  • The  Marathon runners stopped at middle schools and secondary schools along the 535 kilometre route to raise awareness of the need for more discussion of and programs that address youth suicide prevention in communities and schools. Kelly’s inspiring message: “Offer life.”

d) Peter Milne, Parent: Accommodating Children with Special Needs

  • Mr. Milne spoke about his daughter’s experiences as a child with allergies that could potentially lead to anaphylaxis. He said his child felt like a burden at the time (she has graduated) but that schools are much more accommodating now of children with allergies.
  • Mr. Milne said that electromagnetic frequency sensitivity is not accommodated and appears to be in a similar state regarding accommodation to that of allergies and anaphylaxis years ago.
  • Mr. Milne reported that the “accommodation” for EMF sensitivity that has been suggested is isolation of the student, ie. removal from school to home based  distance learning.
  • Mr. Milne referred to EMF related suicides.
  • The school system needs to avoid isolating EMF-sensitive students and needs to take care that the EMF-sensitive student is not made to feel like a burden  until EMF sensitivity gains “mainstream” acceptance in school district policy and in general knowledge.

e) Natalie Buchmann, Teacher,Greater Victoria Teachers Association  Maternity Leave Benefits

  • Ms. Buchmann read her letter to Trustees: “I am writing this letter to you in response to the Greater Victoria School Board’s decision to deny certain contracts to teachers planning to take pregnancy or parental leave. As your employee, I cannot tell you how much it shocked and offended me to read of this policy. This marks my fifth year working as a teacher in the GVSD. I am very passionate about teaching and I plan to continue a life-long career in this district. As such, I have and continue to invest my time and effort in this district and the schools I work in, striving to be an excellent teacher and a valuable employee. I have a strong work ethic and hope that I am viewed as a resource of the district, and an employee worth investing in. An employee worth treating fairly according to the labour laws of this nation. My husband and I recently got pregnant. We were elated, especially because the timing was such that I would be able to (hopefully) avoid the ramifications of this policy. Except for one thing. This past week I went to the ER with bleeding and after blood tests and ultrasounds, I learned that I had miscarried. Right now I am making a choice to be vulnerable by sharing this very personal information with you. As I am writing this, I am still miscarrying, because it is a process, and not a pleasant one. And you know what? Beyond the emotional pain, disappointment and biological trauma of this process, one of the foremost thoughts in my mind is, now we’re going to have to wait to try again, and when we get pregnant, I might not get a job because of when I’m due. I want to scream right now, because of all of the things to worry about, I should not have to worry about this. I should not have to worry whether or not my employer will hire me, an able-bodied, passionate and dedicated employee, because of timing. This is, plain and simple, discrimination. I am sure you understand that hiring practices in this district are based on qualification and seniority. Aside from the necessary fact that I work to earn a living, I also work to increase my eligibility for future contracts, to increase my job security. When you deny me work because I am pregnant, you decrease my hirability for future contracts. You also deny me accrual of pensionable hours that I cannot buy back and hours towards my paystep increase. In essence, you solidify a glass ceiling that I did not think would exist in this career. It will take me longer to retire and I will not make as much as my male counterpart.I would like to share with you a statement from the Canadian Human Rights Commission website: “The Canadian Human Rights Act (the Act) prohibits discrimination related to pregnancy. Pregnancy-related discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, because only women can become pregnant. Discriminatory practices related to pregnancy, such as negative treatment, refusal to hire or promote, termination of employment, or harassment, are against the law under the Act. Pregnancy in the workplace is a fundamental human rights issue of equality of opportunity between women and men. Women should not suffer negative consequences in the workplace simply because they are pregnant. I try to rationalize in my mind that the GVSD’s policy was created because of underfunding, because the district is looking for ways to save money. Please don’t do it this way; it is wrong and it is unethical and it degrades the relationship between employer and employee.”

f) Erin Porter, Teacher, GVTA: Maternity Leave Benefits

  • “It’s not acceptable to solve underfunding issues in the backs of pregnant teachers.”

A.8. Trustees’ Reports:School Groups’ Trustee Liaisons (assigned by Chair annually in December to  Secondary Schools, and associated middle and K-5 schools):

  • Esquimalt group: Leonard / no report, McNally / no report
  • Mount Douglas group: Nohr / no report
  • Oak Bay Secondary group: McEvoy / no reportVictoria High group: Ferris / no report
  • Reynolds Secondary group: Horsman / no report
  • Spectrum Community Secondary group: Alpha / no report, Loring-Kuhanga / no report
  • Lambrick Secondary group: Orcherton / no report

B. Chair’s Report: No report
C. Board Committee Reports

C.1 Joint Education Policy Development Committee and Operations Policy and Planning Committee Meeting

a) Minutes (information only) : September 9, 2013  Official minutes will be posted on the SD61 website after the Standing Committees  approve them in October 2013. (Ed Policy and OPPS are on occasion combined.)
b) Recommended motions:

i. That the SD61 Board encourage middle and secondary schools to review and consider adopting the “Whole School Suicide Prevention Model” as well as providing annual presentations to students and staff in order to increase awareness, education and prevention of suicide amongst our youth. / Carried unanimously.

ii. That the SD61 Board agree to give all three readings of Capital Amendment Bylaw  No. 126650-02 for maximum expenditure of $2,931,347 for the capital portion of the Annual Facility Grant Allocation. / Carried unanimously.

Above Bylaw read three times, passed and adopted. / Carried unanimously.

iii. SD61 Board agree to give all 3 readings of Capital Project Bylaw No. 114493, Cloverdale Elementary Schoo Seismic Project Identification Report cost = $14, 070. / Carried unanimously

All three readings heard , and passed and adopted, and that Secretary-Treasurer and Board Chair be authorized to execute and seal this Bylaw on behalf of this Board./ Carried unanimously

iv. SD61 Board agree to give all 3 readings of Capital Project Bylaw No. 116652, Tillicum Elementary School  Seismic Project Identification Report cost = $11,865. / Carried unanimously

All three readings heard , and passed and adopted, and that Secretary-Treasurer and Board Chair be authorized to execute and seal this Bylaw on behalf of this Board./ Carried unanimously

v. SD61 Board agree to give all 3 readings of Capital Project Bylaw No. 115114, George Jay Elementary School Seismic Project Identification Report cost = $34,270. / Carried unanimously

All three readings heard , and passed and adopted, and that Secretary-Treasurer and Board Chair be authorized to execute and seal this Bylaw on behalf of this Board./ Carried unanimously

vi. SD61 Board approve for submission to the Ministry of Education the attached 2013/14 Five Year Capital Plan. / Carried unanimously

vii. Board approve the revised Policy 4300 District Health and Safety Committee.

  • Policy 4300 was entitled “Personnel- General Safety Committee, was adopted in 1971 and had not been revised since then.
  • In this motion the Policy was retitled “District Health and Safety Committee” .
  • Policy content from 1971 was “To reduce occupational hazards and to promote safe working conditions, a Safety Committee shall be established, which will be representative of all areas of School Board operations.” Policy content was also changed. [Regulations have always been the purview of senior administration but reportedly a “previous Board” gave Policy review and development to senior administration, as well. (May 14, 2012 OPPS: Loring-Kuhanga: Establish a working committee to review policies and regulations that are seen to be contentious in discussion, and to report back to OPPS. / Defeated.)]
Motion from HR: New Health and Safety wording
Motion from HR: New Health and Safety wording

Motion to amend new wording: Loring-Kuhanga: Replace “employer” with “Board”, and add “provide annual reports to the Board”. / Defeated. For: Alpha, McNally, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga    Against: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, Orcherton

  • Loring-Kuhanga referred to this Board’s Bylaw 9210, Development of Policy that states in Point 2 of the  Rationale: “The Board believes that to fulfill its democratic mandate in representing the public interest it must be involved in or give leadership in all stages of policy development and implementation.”
  • Deputy Superintendent: This is not a new Policy, just bringing Policy into line with current WorkSafe rules..

Back to main motion: / Carried. For: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, McNally, Orcherton     Against: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr

viii. SD61 Board approve the revised Policy 4300.1 Health and Safety. / Carried   For: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton   Against; Loring-Kuhanga

  • Last updated in 1994. 4 wording updates (see p 34 of agenda).

ix. SD61 Board approve new Policy 4300.2, Site-Based Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees. / Carried unanimously.

D. District Leadership Team Reports
D.1 Superintendent’s Report

a) Petition from the Greater Victoria Teachers Association

  • Mark Walsh, [former SD61 trustee], SD61 Manager, Labour Relations, Human Resource Services, said there would be meetings with the GVTA to attempt to resolve this issue.
  • Walsh referred to the legal principle of estoppel  and said the proposed hiring policy was intended to prevent classroom disruption and would apply to short term temporary contracts only. However, in reply to my query, it was reported that the costs to the District referred to were based on 10 month contracts.
  • Alpha spoke against this bargaining stand, calling it discriminatory.
  • The Greater Victoria Teachers Association contract chair (a union local Executive position) explains a similar conclusion in her blog.

b) Preliminary Enrolment Report

  • Preliminary figures were provided in hard copy. The report for 2012-13 is on the Ministry of Education website. September 30 is the deadline for the enrolment count, which influences school funding and staffing, as well as Ministry funding. Elementary grades enrolment is up 99 FTE (full time equivalents, mostly in kindergarten) perhaps indicating the hoped-for turnaround in the ongoing enrolment decline in SD61. The smallest student population is at Sundance K-5, with 59 students. The largest student population is at Spectrum Community Secondary School , with 1226 students.

D.2 Secretary-Treasurer’s Report (with recommended motions)

a) 2012/2013 Audited Financial Statements (attached to agenda, starting on page 42)

That the internally restricted surplus appropriation as shown on Statement 1 [page 55 of agenda, page 3 of Audited Financial Statements [attached to agenda] of the Financial Statements, being held for school level funds (Note A), unspent project budgets, (Note B), purchase order commitments (Note C) , and the previously approved budget surplus (Note D) be approved./ Carried. For: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, McNally, Orcherton  Against: Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr

That the Audited Financial Statements [attached to agenda] of the Board of Education SD61 for the year ended June 30, 2013 be approved. [This is money already spent.] And that The Board Chair, Superintendent and Secretary-Treasurer be authorized to execute these statements, when applicable, on behalf of the Board. / Carried. For: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton. Against: Loring-Kuhanga

  • Loring-Kuhanga queried the possibility of referring the motion to OPPS on October 15. The Secretary-Treasurer informed Trustees that the deadline for submitting this report is September 30.

That the Board of Education SD61 approve the schedules as required by the Financial Information Act for the period July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.  / Carried. For: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, McNally, Orcherton     Against: Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr

E. Reports From Trustee Representatives:

  • BCPSEA: Ferrris: None
  • BCSTA: Horsman : None
  • Budget Advisory: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Orcherton: None
  • Culture and Community: Nohr, Orcherton: None
  • District Gay-Straight Alliance Council: Alpha, Horsman: None
  • Aboriginal Nations Education Council: Loring-Kuhanga: None
  • French Immersion Advisory: Ferris: None
  • Healthy Schools: Nohr: None
  • Junior Achievement BC Regional Committee: Ferris: None
  • Joint Job Evaluation (District): Alpha, Ferris: None
  • Negotiation Advisory Committees (District) : ASA: Leonard: None // CUPE 382: Ferris; None // CUPE 947: Ferris: None // Exempt: Nohr: None // Vice Principals and Principals Association: Nohr: None // Teachers (local issues): McNally [see above], Orcherton: None
  • Saanich Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee : Loring-Kuhanga: None
  • Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee: McNally: None (Unable to attend June meeting; meeting scheduled for September 19)
  • Saanich Parks, Trails and Recreation: Loring-Kuhanga None
  • Success By Six: McEvoy, McNally: None (No meetings last school year)
  • Swan Lake / Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary: Horsman: None
  • Vancouver Island Labour Relations Association: Ferris: None [apparently no website exists for VILRA]
  • Victoria Chamber of Commerce: Nohr: None

F. New Business / Notice of Motions: Notice of Motion

F.1 New Business:  McNally: Health and Safety Committee 

Moved McNally /  : That the Board establish ongoing Trustee representation to the District Health and Safety Committee, assignment to be made by the Board Chair from amongst trustees who express interest, assignment by the Chair to be for a one year term, assigned Trustee to report to the Board regularly in In Camera or public meetings as appropriate; the District Health and Safety Committee to be open to attendance from any Trustee. / Ruled “Out of Order” by Orcherton, Chair.

Motion Rationale:

  • Safety of employees and students is major concern and objective of any employer (Policy 43001, Health and Safety, and associated Regulation). Trustees need to know the status of health and safety concerns (taking into account privacy legislation in relation to individuals) and planned Health and Safety related initiatives  in SD61, as Trustees are ultimately accountable. Health and Safety action plans and reviews and plans to address WorkSafe  site-specfic or whole District citations, along with consideration and discussion of employee and parent concerns, need to be a regular duty of elected officials, notwithstanding the delegation of day to day operations to senior administration.
  • Several other BC school districts have trustees as members of their District Health and Safety Committees, Gulf Islands SD64 being an example.

[A similar motion from McNally was defeated at the combined Education Policy Development / Operations Policy and Planning meeting June 10, 2013Against: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McEvoy, Nohr   For: McNally]

Chair Orcherton ruled the motion Out Of Order, using Bylaw 9368 Procedure of Board Meeting , section 105.00“A trustee who has proposed a motion to a committee [yes, did that, June 10, 2013 Combined Ed Policy / OPPS Standing Committees] which motion has been rejected [yes, it was defeated 8-1], may submit his [her] motion to the Board in general session, in writing, [yes, did that  for this Board meeting] for consideration immediately following the report of the committee scheduled for the next regular meeting of the Board in general session, [I don’t set the agenda; this motion was placed at F] provided the motion, in writing, is available to the Chairman for circulation prior to the agenda. [yes, it was sent in in writing well before the meeting]. Provided that, in the event a motion contained within the report of the standing committee which has been adopted [see Health and Safety related motions from the Director of HR at vii, viii, and ix at C.1 b, page 4 of agenda] shall be in contradiction to the motion proposed hereby, then the Chairman shall rule such motion out of order.

  • Motion vii, Revision to Policy 4300 does not mention composition of the District Health and Safety Committee, so that’s not applicable. However, the associated Regulation (Trustees do not get an opportunity to vote on Regulations)  sets the composition of the Committee as 2 reps from District administration, 3 reps from the GVTA, 2 reps from CUPW 382, 2 reps from CUPE 947, and 1 rep from Allied Specialists. No trustees. Voting in favour of a Policy automatically approves the Regulation. This was the last opportunity for Trustees to be actively involved in District issues, in addition to nebulous “governance”. Every other motion to include trustees in committee work has been defeated. (Lined Paper: Motions Since January 2012)

Learn BCSTA:Module 4: “The Governance Role (what you pay 9 Trustees in SD61 approximately $1200 a month, each, to do): School trustees are elected to govern their districts in the interest of improving student achievement. They do this by engaging their communities in building and maintaining a school system that reflects local priorities, values and expectations. They listen to their communities, and guide the work of their school district by setting a strategic plan [ SD61 does not have a strategic plan], amending policy as necessary, helping build an annual budget that is aligned with the strategic plan, and reporting back to the public on the progress toward district goals. They hire senior staff, approve job descriptions and administrative objectives, delegate responsibility for administration and day-to-day matters consistent with those descriptions and objectives, and monitor staff and district performance on a regular basis. Working within the policies, regulations and directives set by the provincial government, trustees act as co-governors [to the extent that the Ministry of Education allows, apparenlty] of the provincial education system by setting the local direction for achievement, allocating available resources, and monitoring local performance. ….In short, effective boards focus on setting overall direction for their districts, obtaining and aligning resources [the Ministry of Education controls “resources”, aka “money”] to accomplish goals, building relationships with communities and staff, holding the local system accountable, and learning continuously as a governance team.”   “A trustee may state a minority view on any board decision, but may not actively interfere with its implementation.”

What do Trustees do? I’d like to see some non-nebulous specific statements. What this Trustee does:

  • Researches  for this blog
  • Communicates regularly with the public via blog posts and social media
  • Attends two Standing Committee meetings and one Board meeting each month, and additional in camera or other meetings as scheduled (ie Budget meetings) or other meetings as called by the chair and at least in theory, by any three trustees (that hasn’t worked for me so far – tried it on two occasions) using  Bylaw 9360 General Meeting of the Board: “The Chair, the Secretary Treasurer or any three trustees, may call a special general meeting of the Board, in addition to the regularly scheduled meetings of the Board, upon not less than forty-eight hours’ notice in writing to all trustees.”
  • Attends assigned school group events as possible ie musicals, plays, awards ceremonies, graduations
  • Attends Parent Advisory Council meetings at assigned schools (on invitation, or request from Trustee)
  • Reads / listens to and responds to communications from citizens
  • Refers citizens to an administrator for assistance / followup as needed
  • Attends meetings of assigned external liaison Committees (eg Healthy Saanich, Success By 6)
  • Attends Provincial events as rep to the body if elected (formerly; not currently)  by a majority of Trustee colleagues (ie BCSTA )
  • Attends Vancouver Island School Trustees Association  meetings as able / desired
  • Reads backgrounders and updates from BCSTA, and letters on current issues copied to to all BC School Boards by other Boards
  • Keeps up with ever-changing Ministry of Education directions and funding policies for public education
  • Stays informed about trends and current realities in public education in BC and farther afield
  • Develops and presents motions at standing committees and Board meetings
  • Debates and votes on motions
  • Reads and reviews SD61 Policies, Regulations, and Bylaws, along with Robert’s Rules of Order

Maybe that covers it. The Chair and Vice Chair spend a lot more time at the Board office with senior administration than I do, and the role of Chair has additional  responsibilities with media and provincial level meetings.

F.2 Notice of Motion (for a subsequent meeting agenda, probably OPPS, October 15): McNally: Student Trustee

McNally: That the Board of Education SD61 Greater Victoria establish a position of Student Trustee (from Grade 10, 11 or 12, with voice but no vote) on the SD61 Board and Standing Committees, that the position be supported by an honorarium or credit to be determined by the Board along with the student’s school administration annually, that the term be for one school year September 1 – June 30, and that a Student Trustee information handbook be developed.

Rationale:

  • The Vancouver School Board carried a similar motion in June 2013. School boards in Ontario and New Brunswick, and Edmonton, Alberta have already implemented similar programs.
  • Citizens often speak to the lack of youth engagement in municipal, provincial and federal politics and elections. The position of student trustee would provide for engagement with one of the District’s major stakeholders and “partner groups” in public education; the students in our schools who are not represented directly at this table. Seeing student representation on the Healthy Saanich Committee to which I am assigned, I have every confidence a  student would shine as a student trustee.
  • As decisions of the Board affect all students, recognition of the voice of youth in decisions that affect them is in line with democratic principles. The position of Student Trustee is intended to provide for open communication between the student body and the Board, and intended to provide an opportunity for student engagement in school district governance, by encouraging student observation of and participation in district planning and policy and program development.
  • The honorarium is proposed as many students work outside of school hours.

Further suggested  parameters for the position:

  • The Student Trustee position is not a Trustee as defined in the School Act.
  • The Student Trustee would not attend in camera meetings.
  • May suggest but not move motions
  • Will have access to all public information and resources provided to Board members
  • Will have access to BCSTA AGM attendance if a regular trustee assigns his or her “professional development” funding to the student trustee
  • Will present a Student Trustee report at each regular Board meeting
  • Will report to and solicit input from SD61 student councils
  • May engage in liaison with the City of Victoria Youth Council and / or Saanich Youth Council
  • Proposed eligibility criteria: a) A student in regular attendance at a School District 61 secondary school in order to represent the main student body. b) 16 years of age or older by December 31 of the school year in which he/she holds office c) Parental consent if under 19
  • Election process proposed:  a) Nominated by SD61 student(s) or self-nominated  b) Personal resume and /or a letter of intent provided for posting on (to be created) Student Trustee page on the SD61 website  c) School based election to be held for candidates at each of the 7 secondary schools in May / June of each school year, beginning 2014  d) SD61-wide election be held (run by student council) with voting open to any SD61 secondary school student, candidates being up to seven students, one from each secondary school (resumes and video if desired on the SD61 website), votes counted at each secondary school, totals sent to the Board Chair  e)  Board of Trustees to accept the student with the highest number of votes, in an in camera session of the board  f) If the Student Trustee leaves office, the position will be offered to the next highest candidate, and so on.
  • Proposed rescission of eligibility:  a) Absent from two consecutive regular meetings of the Board  b) Convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada or under the Youth Criminal Justice Act  c) Suspended from school
  • Conflict of interest guidelines suggested for development: Will not participate in discussions when their parent, spouse, sibling or child has a direct or indirect financial interest in the matter being discussed at the Board or Committee meeting.

G. Communications: None. [From / to whom?]
H. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items: None
I.. Adjournment: 9:55 pm

Next meeting:
Monday October 7 7PM Board Room: Education Policy Development Committee

Tuesday October 15 7:PM Board Room: Operations Policy and Planning Committee

Monday October 21 7:30 PM Board Room: Board Meeting

Orca resting line
Orca resting line