Ed Policy Nov4/13: The Record Off The Record: French Immersion – It’s Complicated

Note: The Report of the SD61 Committee on Public Engagement is posted on the SD61 website. Have a look at the proposed 14 strictures on asking a question at a Board meeting if you’re a member of the public and contemplate asking a question at a Board meeting. 

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 is posted as “Education Meetings”; Operations Policy and Planning Committee is posted as “Operations Meetings”) generally one month after the meeting. Motions may be shortened here but retain the essential wording.

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 the 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.” Key word: “general”.

The public meeting schedule is posted on the District Calendar.Trustees  are referred to by last name only for brevity; “the Board of Education of SD No. 61 (Greater Victoria) is referred to as “the Board [etc]”. 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.)

Trustee Assignments January 2013-December 2013 (same as previous year)

In effect until January 2014

I am not on the GVTA Negotiations Advisory Committee, though that’s what this assignment (by the Chair) chart says. 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. Two trustees do sit at that table and neither of them is me, since as far as I know, they are Orcherton and Ferris, not Orcherton and me. The British Columbia School Trustees Association website  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, as far as I know, although as a Trustee I am publicly responsible  for them.

A “Special” In Camera Meeting was held before the public meeting. How are  “special” In Camera meetings  different from the usual ones?  Point 3 in Bylaw 9360.1 refers to “special” in camera meetings:  “The Chair of the Board , the Secretary Treasurer or any three Trustees may call a special in-camera meeting of the Board, in addition to the regularly scheduled in-camera meetings.”

Bylaw 9130.1 Education Policy Development Committee: Article 4: “The Education Policy Development Committee shall meet in accordance with the provisions of Bylaw 9360.2 (Meetings of the Standing Committees) for the purpose of providing direction to administration on the development of new educational policies and to review Board motions which require translation to educational policy. In addition, the Committee shall, from time to time as it sees fit, make recommendations to the Board in respect of educational policy for the District.”

Trustees are assigned as members of the two standing committee by the Chair annually, and a quorum of members is expected for business to be done (though in 2008 on more than on occasion when that was not achieved, a non-member Trustee was simply “…appointed as a voting member for this meeting”). Current members of Ed Policy are Alpha, Horsman, Loring-Kuhanga, and McEvoy.

In practice, my understanding is senior administration (the Principal of Learning Initiatives, for Ed Policy)  set the agendas for Board meetings and Standing Committee meetings, with input from the Chairs.

About Diane McNally