6..Finance and Legal Affairs
A. VCPAC Report to the Board on WiFi Survey
- Leonard: VCPAC report presented a year after the related motion, almost a year to the day, “That the Board receive the recommendation of the VCPAC re WiFi”.
- President, VCPAC: According to VCPAC Constitution and Bylaws, a special resolution is required to make recommendations to the Board and the requirements were achieved.
The VCPAC Constitution and Bylaws document states : SPECIAL RESOLUTION: means a. a resolution passed in a general meeting by a majority of not less than 75% of the votes of those delegates representing members of VCPAC who, being entitled to do so, vote in person provided that i. notice specifying the intention of the proposed Special Resolution has been given not less than 28 days’ prior to the general meeting at which it will be put to a vote, or ii. if every member entitled to attend and vote at the general meeting agrees, at a meeting for which less than 28 days’ notice has been given, b. a resolution consented to in writing by every member of VCPAC who would have been entitled to vote on it in person at a general meeting. A resolution so approved is deemed to be a Special Resolution passed at a general meeting. …Voting privileges are limited to one vote per PAC….The Quorum for General Meetings is one-third of the current membership [approximately 20 votes; 20 schools = 1/3 of schools in SD61].
- Ferris: Notice of Motion was previously sent in to meeting Secretary: Moved Ferris [paraphrased]:
1. That the Board continue to monitor WiFi in schools, and review annually with reference to received updates from WHO, VIHA [now Island Health], the Provincial Health Officer, and Health Canada.
2. That the Board allow use of WiFi in elementary schools subject to each school first obtaining support from the school community.
- Loring-Kuhanga: What about students who experience EMF sensitivity?
Women’s College Hospital: “We need to create more awareness about this condition,” said Dr. Riina Bray, medical director, Environmental Health Clinic, WCH. “Health-care practitioners need to better understand EMS so they can help their patients prevent and manage their symptoms. The public needs to know how to protect themselves from the broad range of health impacts electromagnetic fields have on their minds and bodies.”
- VCPAC President: Individual solutions.
- Orcherton: Will be accommodated.
- McNally: Feeling blindsided by these motions coming to the floor with no notice. Bylaw 9250.2 Notices of Motion states “Notices of Motion should be submitted in sufficient time for inclusion in the regular pack-up distribution.” [Yes, motions on occasion do come to the floor from discussion / as emergent issues but the WiFi letter from VCPAC sent to Trustees via the Chair is dated October 30.]
- Leonard: Motions can come forward from discussion.
- Orcherton: Have had motions come forward from discussion before. Have had lots of discussion on this topic. On November 13, 2012 dealt with the same motion. [The Board approved VCPAC’s request for a deferral of the motion regarding WiFi in schools: “WiFi in K-5 Schools in SD61: VCPAC asks for deferral of the WiFi motion brought to the Board from the SD61 WiFi Committee until February 2013, as VCPAC has not discussed cell phones in schools or WiFi brought in by school staff.” Only a motion for WiFi at Victor School appeared as notice of motion on the February 2013 Board agenda.]
Ferris’ motions were retained on the agenda by agreement for discussion but no vote; vote will take place at November 18th Board meeting.
- Nohr: SD61 is facing an $11 million deficit in the next budget, yet we’re looking at implementation of Wifi. Would like senior administration to present to the Board the costs associated with WiFi implementation, the cost of iPads etc. We don’t have enough teachers; funding is a serious problem, and to be looking at adding costs is not in the best interests of students. What solutions have been considered or implemented for student with EMF sensitivity? What would our accommodations be? A point was made re rapid obsolescence with this technology. It’s not the best use of our money.
- Leonard: All your comments may not be factual.
- Nohr: Which ones, specifically?
- Leonard: Not going into it; there were so many.
- Alpha: In regard to the second motion, Have some questions about the VCPAC survey percentages.
VCPAC President explained the numbers. It would have been helpful to have the explanation as a footnote as the process was not a simple / clear as one might think. The explanation referred to percentages being percentages of people who did not have a “neutral” answer, not a percentage of total respondents.]
- GVTA 1st Vice President: Most elementary school teachers don’t want WiFi. There are divided opinions re safety; with elementary school teachers it is a definite concern. Given the needs of the District this is not where we want to see the money directed. What is meant by “the school community” in the second motion? Teachers are a minority in the “community” but will be the most impacted along with students.
- Orcherton: Not all elementary schools are begging for this to happen but some schools fundraised for the equipment. The District has to be responsible for installation. WiFi works with Smart Boards. The District is not providing every child with an iPad. We do have a tech budget. It would be good to have the costs.
- VCPAC President: The recommendation was that WiFi be allowed, not that it be installed in all K-5 schools. There is a good amount of debate over tech in classrooms. Parent Advisory Councils at schools fundraise for for tech equipment and then it may not get used optimally. VCPAC will start a new discussion about technology in schools.
- McNally: This is the question that should be asked first, about the utility of WiFi based technology in the classroom in a pedagogical sense.
A South Island alternative school (Waldorf Education) highlights its “wifi free” environment: “Our European-style, custom built, main school for Classes 1-8 was given a certificate by the BC Cancer Society Healthy Living School Program. It is a non-smoking, non-toxic, and WIFI FREE environment.”
Safe In School: Conflict of Interest Influences EMF Science: “Dr Krewski – Spokesperson on the “safety” of WiFi in this Health Canada video. His voice echoes the stance of the wireless industry. …Dr. Krewski represented Canada in the Interphone Study. Out of 13 countries, Dr. Krewski’s Canadian team is the only research group which accepted direct funding ($1 million) from the wireless industry.”