March 3/14: The Record Off the Record: Ed Policy/OPPS Combo: Is Getting Extra Attention From an Accredited Teacher “Discrimination”?


5.  Operations Policy and Planning Committee: Chair Leonard
A. Presentations: None

B. Superintendent’s Report
1. Student Trustee: Deputy Superintendent Bell [as of March 5, Superintendent]

  • [Board meeting September 16, 2013 at F.2 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.
  • The Chair accepted the following  amendment though it is a substantive change, really a different motion altogether, but rather than seeing my motion disappear (as that seemed to be the way the debate could go) I voted in favour. Loring-Kuhanga, motion to amend:  That the Board request the Superintendent to explore the idea of Student Trustee / Representative and report back to the Board and Standing Committees in January 2014. / Carried unanimously.
  • Deputy Superintendent: Will be beginning work with a student advisory committee that will work with the Superintendent. Principals of the seven SD61 high schools will put names forward, mostly Grade 11 students. Principals will come with them. Will address governance, structure of Board meeting, Policies, Regulations, and will explore election process for future student Trustee.

2Sub-Committee on Public Engagement  

  • Proposed Revision of Bylaw 9360 “General Meeting of the Board”  and the new draft Bylaw 9360.01 (Question Period at Board Meetings) will likely come before the Board for final vote in May 2014. See September 30, 2012 Lined Paper post re initiation of proposed changes to the Agenda by McNally and Loring-Kuhanga. In a later meeting Nohr proposed addition of a Stewardship Report tracking progress of motions, which was tabled and sent to the ad hoc committee which was yet to be set up by Horsman’s motion which followed. Interesting  process.
  • Draft Bylaw 9360.01 Question Period During Board Meetings attached to agenda at p 17
  • Leonard led discussion of  items which did not get consensus agreement  in previous discussions. Leonard declared that decisions would be made by majority vote this time.
  • Results: (open the agenda on another tab and then this will make sense)
  • #8 : Carried unanimously
    • Nohr: At the last Board meeting, one speaker held  to the 5 minute limit and two others spoke longer and were not cut off. So #8 should allow for more flexibility at the discretion of the Chair.
    • McNally: Two speakers did speak longer. The individual who spoke for 5 minutes only said she would have liked to say more but took the 5 minute time limit seriously. Leaving the time limit to the discretion of the Chair is too nebulous.
    • Loring-Kuhanga: Would the questioner  be allowed to clarify in any way?
    • Leonard: Can follow up in an email later.
    • Orcherton: Common sense has to come into play. If someone’s confused you can assist them. Starla [Dr. Starla Anderson] did speak for 5 minutes [on Question Period]; it wouldn’t have been appropriate to interrupt the other two [who spoke about residential schools from personal experience as people of Aboriginal heritage]. Some will speak longer than others.
    • Horsman: Has to be some time limits. Clearly some people are getting ready to say something important.
  • #9: Carried without amendment
    • Amendment: To include answers in Board minutes (to questions asked before, during and that were not addressed due to time constraints) [debate below] / Defeated. For: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr   Against: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, Orcherton
    • McNally: Although up to this point insisted on answers recorded I minutes, can live with questions in minutes but not answers. Individual can read the answer into the public record at the next Board meeting in public presentations as Mr. Bird has indicated previously.
    • Alpha: Would be helpful to know what answers are being given to members of the public. Would be useful to have a summary of the answers in the minutes.
    • Orcherton: We don’t do verbatim minutes; why would we do it here?
    • Bird: Shouldn’t be a problem.
    • Alpha: The questions have great import and as a Trustee I’m responsible for the information that goes out.
    • Leonard: A person might ask a question of the Secretary-Treasurer that the Trustees might not know the answer to.
    • Alpha: Just want a summary and can follow up from that if needed.
    • Nohr: SD69 Qualicum includes the answers in their minutes. Questions without answers are not useful. [Example: January 28, 2014, at 5 on the agenda, 30 questions were answered by senior staff and Trustees. All the answers were recorded in the minutes.]
    • Leonard: Every question that comes in to the office? Could do it this way for a year and then review.
    • Loring-Kuhanga: Motion to amendAnswers will be summarized in the minutes.
    • Horsman: Try it for a year without having answers– see what kind of questions. Would probably be an email response; don’t need a written reply if asked and answered at the Board.
    • Bird: Questions of all kinds could be asked here. What is the Question Period really for? Questions you want the Board to be accountable for. Would have to have the question on the agenda if it’s an accountability question. Could have a FAQ on the SD61 website. Up to the asker if they want that on the record.[Once a question is asked in public isn’t it then “owned” by the public?]
    • Alpha: If I’m accountable for the answers to questions, I want a summary of the answers.
    • McNally: FAQ for factual questions good idea and should revisit.
    • Ferris: Someone wants “the answer” – why are you coming to the meeting? Why are you not sending a letter and asking for the answer in writing? People who come to the meeting want to look us in the eye and get an answer. All questions will be in the minutes, answers won’t be.
    • Loring-Kuhanga: Original intent of the motion was for the public to come to the Board and ask a question. The intent is getting lost. [Loring-Kuhanga proposed this motion in February 2012 but because Robert’s Rules were not followed regarding the mover of a motion being absent, the motion didn’t get on the agenda till May 2012.]   The original intent was for the public to ask questions at the Board meeting and to have those answered.
    • Deputy Superintendent: The Committee intended that questions would be questions related to the Board meeting [very restrictive; no trustees allowed on Committee]. Would not be general questions.
    • McEvoy: Notion of question period like legislative – specific to hold a government to account. If people want to hold the Board to account, any vote may have a different reason for why a vote went any way. Common questions could be put on the website with answers. Don’t see how this will establish “accountability”.
    • Orcherton: Maybe answers not in minutes but on website for a period of time. Now undecided about the answers.
    • Leonard: What about questions that were not asked at the Board meeting? How could those answers be recorded?
    • Bird: Re McEvoy’s points on need for question  period – for example, what if Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils thought the recent report on isolation  and exclusion was not being taken into account by the Board and these practices were still happening? Might be time to ask the question in question period “When will you ban it?”. Ability to ask a question on the record is critical to political action piece. The official record of the Board is what is at stake here. If the question wasn’t answered at the Board, would chase it down.
    • Loring-Kuhagna: Agree with Mr. Bird; suggest eliminate #9 and replace with “questions at the Board meeting”.
    • Alpha: Questions with answers could be a simple table. Recording questions without answers is ludicrous.
    • McEvoy: With a political question, the Board would have to debate and develop a position.
    • Leonard: Most questions we get, we haven’t debated. The Chair can’t answer to the Board.
    • [Vote on Loring-Kuhanga’s amendment failed; back to main motion, #9 as stated  ]
  • #10: Carried [This moved along very fast; the Chair should have to state a reason for declaring a question out of order, and a challenge should be possible.  Would like this stated in #10, and will bring that up when this is discussed again.]
  • #11: Carried with change from “additional” to “inordinate” (amended by Bird; carried)
  • #12: Struck out as redundant: Carried
  • Back to #5: Carried
  • Back to #2: Struck as redundant: Carried

This document will come back the Board as a draft Bylaw in May. Final approval of a Bylaw needs a simple majority to pass.

About Diane McNally