The Record Off The Record is my personal record of and commentary on Board and Standing Committee meetings in School District 61 Greater Victoria (Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal,and parts 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. Agendas are posted the Friday before the meeting.
Required 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.” Key word: “general”. Any report beyond the basic one required must be done by an in camera motion and majority vote. SD61 Bylaw 9360.1 states: In-camera items that may be discussed confidentially include legal, property, personnel and privacy matters as defined by provincial legislation. [Note, not “are limited to”.]
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”. 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.] Motions may be shortened but retain the essential wording.Seconders are not noted
Links for more info /sources in red.
Square brackets contain my comments.
Home page: widgets and sticky post: Motions and Vote Records to June 2013
School District 61 Greater Victoria is the 6th largest employer in the Capital Regional District with a budget of $195.330, 769.00 of your tax dollars for the coming school year. You pay nine Trustees approximately $1,200.00 a month, each, with a raise to come soon.
The Report of the SD61 Committee on Public Engagement is posted on the SD61 website. It’s under the Board of Education category, in “subcommittees” in the drop-down menu. Have a look at the potential restrictions on asking a question at a Board meeting if you’re a member of the public, and the potential restrictions on public recording of public meetings. These proposed policy revisions are being debated every OPPS meeting, generally the second Monday of each month. The final draft of new policies will come to OPPs for debate, discussion and vote – OPPS as a Standing Committee has opportunities for questions from the public during the meeting – in the fall of 2014 and then will go to the Board for a final debate and vote, in a September / October meeting of the Board.
It’s taken two years to get close to having a [highly controlled] question period on the Board agenda. Recently, Qualicum School District 69 managed to answer 39 questions, with questions and answers provided in the minutes, in one meeting. The current SD61 culture seems fearful of questions and recording and loss of control to all those wild radicals who typically attend School Board meetings. “Control” is heard frequently in these discussions.
Bylaw 9130.2 Operations Policy and Planning Standing Committee
- 3. Associated with the Committee, by way of auxiliary staff, shall be the Superintendent or delegate, the Secretary-Treasurer or delegate, the Director of Human Resources, the Director of Facilities Services, the Director of Financial Services, Director of Information Technology and Planning and any other administrative officers as may be required by the Committee.
- 4. The Operations Policy and Planning Committee shall meet in accordance with the provisions of By-law 9360.2 for the purpose of developing for Board consideration major impact areas related to: a) all personnel matters; b) all financial and legal matters; c) all matters related to the facilities required to provide educational programs; d) information technology and planning matters.
- “The purpose of each standing committee shall be firstly to clarify issues that need to be referred to the Board for review and decision making and, secondly, to present policy recommendations for Board consideration.” “
- 3. The Chairperson of the Board shall be an ex officio member of both Committees, with voting rights.
- 4.All members of the Education Policy Development Committee shall be ex officio members of the Operations Policy and Planning Committee with voting rights.
- 5. All members of the Operations Policy and Planning Committee shall be ex officio members of the Education Policy Development Committee with voting rights.
- 6. A quorum is a majority of trustee members on the committee.”
Trustees are assigned by the Chair as members of the two standing committee, Ed Policy and Operations Policy. Senior administration set the agendas for Board meetings and Standing Committee meetings with input from Chairs [my analysis].
Tuesday May 20: Board Meeting 7:30 pm Tolmie Board Room
Monday June 2: Education Policy Development 7 pm (At a school if no In Camera meeting preceding; Tolmie Board Room if In Camera first)
Monday June 9: Operations Policy & Planning Standing Committee 7:30 pm Tolmie Board Room
Monday June 16: Board Meeting, 7:30 Tolmie Board Room
Ferris added at 10 : A from the floor: That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) Chair ask three members of the public to establish an ongoing mechanism for the re-imbursement of trustees for the duration of their term and that it be initiated in December for each new board. [Pretty sure what is mean is “remuneration“, as there is a functional policy operationalized by a Regulation for reimbursement of expenses. ]
Full agenda with attachments here .
Operations Policy and Planning Committee: Chair Leonard
1. Approval of Agenda: Adopted, with addition of Notice of Motion [not actually a Notice of Motion; it’s a motion from the floor, as it will be debated and voted on at this meeting] from Ferris at 10.A: Trustee Salary Increase Mechanism.
2. Approval of the Minutes
A. OPPS Monday, April 14, 2014: Approved.
3. Business Arising From Minutes: None
A. Camille Victoire and Janice Boothman: WiFi
- Handouts: Text of this speech and Globe and Mail article “Could WiFi In Schools Be Harming Our Kids?” May 11, 2014 (excerpt below)
While most Western bodies have deemed the scientific evidence on health effects inconclusive, many European jurisdictions are choosing to err on the side of caution until more is known. In a resolution in 2011, the Council of Europe recommended that the As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) principle be applied to electromagnetic radiation, fearing “there could be extremely high human and economic costs if early warnings are neglected.” It also condemned the “lack of reaction to known or emerging environmental or health risks and virtually systematic delays in adopting or implementing effective preventive measures.”
Lichtenstein, Italy and Belgium responded by drastically lowering their exposure guidelines. In France, a bill currently before the Senate insists on a principle of moderation where RF radiation is concerned. If passed, WiFi will be banned from maternity wards and child-care facilities, communities would have to be consulted before any installations in schools, and if installed, all routers would have to be accessible to teachers who could turn them off when not in use.
June 10, 2013 Ed Policy / OPPS: Nohr: Board direct a joint technology and facility department effort to develop a protocol and process to measure classroom radiation exposure levels in areas with access points, cell phones, laptops, tablets and mobile computing systems and that this protocol would measure classrooms, computer labs, hallways, offices, staff rooms, etc. to develop a baseline of ambient, average and peak EMR levels in all our schools and that the radiation exposure levels be reported to the Board on a quarterly basis , evaluating all schools yearly. / Defeated. Against: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, Orcherton For: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr.
Camille Victoire’s presentation:
Hello. My name is Camille Victoire and this is Janice Boothman. We both have extensive professional IT experience and we’re each proud mothers of two beautiful children. We are parents at Margaret Jenkins and are speaking on behalf of several families from the school, about the importance of freedom of choice regarding wifi in schools. We have researched this extensively from both sides and we have come to the conclusion that we want to take a precautionary approach to protect our children. We have a moral and ethical responsibility as parents to do what is right for our kids. Children should have a fundamental human right to an education within the public school system without being exposed to a possible carcinogen.
We are here today requesting that at a minimum, 1 English/French elementary school be designated as a low EMF school and be wifi-free.
It is important to remember that wifi is simply a convenient way to access the internet. It is not a learning tool. Wifi is a convenience and with this convenience comes unprecedented risk.
We do not know what the cumulative effects will be 20 years down the road from wifi and other electro-magnetic radiation. Experts say 30 years of data is necessary to decipher if something is safe or not. Children are not small adults. Their bodies are growing rapidly and their skulls are much thinner. “…sensitivity to radiation is highest early in life.
Many parents feel wifi simply isn’t needed in elementary schools and reports worldwide are exploring the downside of technology over use in children.
It’s estimated 3% to 8% of the Canadian population suffer from a severe form of Electro-magnetic Hypersensitivity or EHS. EHS is a “growing worldwide health concern” according to the WHO. Extrapolated trends show EHS is expected to affect 50% of the population by the year 2017.
How can they project such a drastic increase? Well, another report says 900% growth is expected in the wireless industry in the next 5 years. Today’s children are exposed to man-made radiation levels astronomically higher than earth’s natural radiation. This isn’t just about the routers. It’s the devices with multiple antennas. If 20 students are using ipads simultaneously that equates to 100 antennas plus wifi and mobile phones in one classroom alone. It is imperative schools be a safe zone to save children from an additional 6,500 hours of wireless radiation exposure over their 6 years in elementary school.
PRO-WIFI IN SCHOOLS REASONING
We understand from an educational perspective that wifi is an attractive, convenient option. It is less expensive for networking and it opens the door to bring your own device. Ulitmately our children and the health care system will pay the price for this. This issue will not go away until a resolution is reached between parents and the Victoria School Board. Even if you personally doubt EHS, it is becoming more prevalent every day. You may have noticed today’s Globe and Mail article that shed light on the risks and medical sensitivities associated with wifi.
At this time all schools are actively considering wifi or have made the decision to install it. This leaves families like ours without any alternative. At the December principals’ meeting, former superintendent John Gaiptman reminded principals of the school district’s desire to accommodate student needs. Mr. Gaiptman also stated that if a school is unable to make accommodations, principals should endeavor to locate a school in the district to accommodate family requests. However, there are NO schools to accommodate our request.
SURVEY [Hard to find on VCPAC website; enter “survey” in search field and a few documents come up including the WiFi Survey. 800+ comments.]
In the VCPAC wifi survey 29% of parents stated they had concerns about the health implications of wifi in Elementary schools. That’s almost one third of the school community, which constitutes a significant number of families. Mr. Gaiptman said schools would have to gain the support of the community. We do not support it.
At a previous board meeting, a trustee was quoted as saying ‘who are we to decide, let parents decide what is best for their children’. We have decided. Another trustee said “ultimately, we believe parents have the responsibility to make choices for what’s the safest thing for their kid.” While this is a generous statement it still leaves the minorities in every school—those who have voted against it without a choice.
The BC Ministry of Education, Diversity in BC Schools framework states: “Over the years, British Columbia has made an increasing commitment to a school system with teaching and operational practices that honour diversity and promote human rights”.The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. “Under the UN’s Declaration of the Rights of the Child : “The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents.”
Without the freedom of choice, we have no idea what our children will be doing in September or where they will be going to school. This is causing an enormous amount of stress to our families, most especially to our kids. We request that the board designate one school as low EMF and wifi-free to accommodate the needs of nearly 1/3 of families who opposed it in the survey This would provide an instant solution for children and staff who might suffer from EHS. We request the school be designated and made public before the last day of this school year so children can have closure at their schools and to allow for families to make plans for relocating in preparation for September. We would like to suggest that Margaret Jenkins be designated as the low EMF school. This school currently meets the desired criteria, and is by far the furthest from cellular towers.
We are reasonable. We respect everyone’s choice on this matter. If parents want to have wifi for their kids, that is their choice. But let us have the freedom of choice too. If parents are adamant their children be in a school with wifi, they will have every other school in the district to choose from. It’s timely to address this now before routers get installed. By giving families the freedom to choose, you can be both proactive addressing future requirements, while being responsive to the needs of families now. We would like our children to be afforded the same luxury that you and I were – an education that is free of radiation. We are respectfully asking that you designate an appropriate school for families such as ours. Thank you.
- Orcherton: Will we come back to this later? Would like some informant re the WiFi application from the school.
- Superintendent: All K-5 schools are underway with applications except one. There are 13 applications in and the other schools are somewhere in their own process. One school hasn’t stated and doesn’t plan to.
- Leonard: This discussion would be good a year from now. Staffing is done and designation of a school probably couldn’t happen for this September. [Why not?]
- Nohr: What percentage of people are EMF sensitive? Where is Margaret Jenkins in the process? What is the one school?
- Victoire: Between 5 – 8%.
- Superintended: Rogers is the school.
- Principal, Margaret Jenkins: The School’s process for requesting WiFi has been sent in to the District. In February 2014 182 of 308 families responded to the school WiFi survey / questionnaire. 147 = yes, WiFi; 35 = no Wifi. 25 staff responded =96% yes. School now needs 9 routers [9 x $800 = $7200 expense for the school]. We have 2 from the District. The whole school will be WiFi’d down the road.
B. Peter Milne: Regulation, Accommodation and Accountability
I’m here to address a number of issues that encompass fair and democratic processes and accountability when it comes to the health and safety of our children. When I wrote to the District this past week to request placement on the agenda as a courtesty I also informed that I would be recording the meeting. In response I was told that these meetings are not recorded. However, the school act preamble begins with reference to democracy – a process our schools are meant to foster. This is a public meeting; Trustees are public officials who are meant to safeguard the public from reasonably foreseeable health hazards. For this reason I will be filming the meeting as I and others have in the past so as to clarify any decisions made here tonight for those interested who cannot attend this meeting tonight.
The intent of my presentation is to seek answers to a number of questions. I will read through them all and then provide you each with a copy so we can go through one at a time, as well as to assist with minute taking.
The administration at my son’s school announced at the PAC meeting that Wi-Fi would be installed before a genuine consultation process provided an opportunity for Informed Consent. Instead an uninformed yes/no vote occurred with no school-wide discussion. My observation is that at every level this discussion has been minimized, controlled, dismissed and in is therefore in direct conflict with the often talked about educational pursuit to encourage critical thinking in our students.
It is a parent’s right to prevent the child from possible or probable carcinogens at school.
No insurance coverage available .Given that there is information available that the insurance industry now excludes electromagnetic radiation and the possible health effects from the excessive use of SMART technologies from its policy coverage —
1. How has the school District planned to let parents know that the school does not have liability coverage for injury stemming from wifi routers and careless use and constant exposure to wireless technologies in our schools?
2. Have you investigated this issue and if so, what information have you been provided with, and from whom? Please note that our Provincial Health Officer gave out a special report in 2010 – “Investing in prevention, improving health and creating sustainability”. In my mind, preventing cancer, starting in childhood, would certainly be beneficial to our national economy.
Easy access to public information:
3. How will you let parents and staff know of your findings regarding the lack of insurance coverage?
4. When can we expect to hear the steps you will take to find this information, as well as the process and timeline for providing this information (to the public)?
The tracking of research findings: The District has a duty to inform parents on outstanding health and safety issues, such as the one on the agenda tonight. In all fairness, we have a right to know what references the Authorities rely on in their assessment of“good” and “bad” research with their claim of “no convincing evidence,” especially since streams of new evidence is published regularly.
5. How is the District tracking new research from health authorities and the scientific community?
6. How is the District providing the parents with the list of research of which our Health Authorities have reviewed and reasons for which they’ve found it to be of relevant concern or not to school districts?
Promise of accommodation:On several occasions it’s been stated that families who, for preventative health reasons, disagree with the wifi roll-out in our schools will be accommodated. In this regard, I’ve in fact already provided you with a non-consent letter but have not seen any public postings of this process. Since this is a public health concern, it is reasonable to expect a public posting. The principal stated parents would have to come to her and she would accommodate them to a school without Wi-Fi. There was no mechanism to let parents know that this process was available. I checked the PAC minutes to discover that this was not articulated accurately on the PAC website. It currently states that Wi-Fi would be installed by Christmas and there may or may not be schools without Wi-Fi available.
7. Exactly what type of accommodation will you be providing and how will you be informing all parents of this process? Let me be clear, segregating children to “learn” in isolation cannot be seen as accommodation. It is penalizing a child for their family’s right to protect against a probable carcinogen.
In conclusion, my last question is in reference to the defeat of the recent motion calling on the District to post manual advisories for iPads.
General Duties of the Employer: According to BC Occupational Health & Safety regulation, the general duties of the Employer is to “ensure that employees are made aware of all known or reasonably foreseeable health or safety hazards to which they are likely to be exposed by their work” (115, 2b,i) and “provide the employer’s workers the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure the health and safety of those workers in carrying out their work and to ensure the health and safety of other workers at the workplace” (115,2f). Therefore, a minimum safety requirement today is the manufacturers’ manuals for devices and equipment used during their workday.
This motion should not have been required and certainly should not have been defeated. It is imperative that trustees be well aware of the employer’s duty to uphold a bare minimum for the health and safety of the districts employees. Therefore the manufacturers’ advisory is minimum requirement, not Safety Code 6, which is general guidance on recommended levels.
8. How do you plan to ensure that every employee is provided this information and is using all technology equipment in accordance with the manual advisories?
- Nohr: Good questions that deserve follow-up.
- Superintendent: Someone will be in contact.
- Alpha: Will the information be provided to Trustees as well?
- Superintendent: If the information is in writing.
- GVTA 1st VP Tetrault: Some of the questions have Health and Safety implications for teachers. Requesting replies regarding Health and Safety be in writing, copied to the GVTA.
- Nohr: Margaret Jenkins school is 1 km away from nearest cell tower. Recognizing that there is a real concern for our employees and children. Interested in non-consent issue regarding Frank Hobbs student.
- Alpha: Insurance coverage not available for Electromagnetic frequency related concerns How did you [Milne] find that out?
- Milne: Will forward. Information from major insurance corporation.
- Alpha: Serious concern if insurance companies are running away. Running away for a reason.
- Orcherton: Large issue. WiFi surrounds us. Have picked up WiFi in all schools from outside sources. Technology is moving too fast for us to deal wit the health and ethical issues. Who were you expecting to have the insurance? Kids get sick and the causes aren’t always apparent. Big issue for the District – like starting a District program. Bigger issue than School Boards. Parks, City of Victoria have WiFi – kids are out in WiFi but can’t be in school with it?
- Victoire: Margaret Jenkins does not have a strong WiFi signal coming in already. Only 48% of the VCPAC survey WiFi were positive about wanting WiFi.
- Loring-Kuhanga: Like the idea; is a larger conversation. SD61 is committed to each student’s success. Need to start addressing this.
- McNally: Understand that some conversations go better in person / phone, but not very useful if can’t be distilled into written reply / explanation. Asking for all replies to Milne’s questions be provided in writing.
- Nohr: Need more dialogue about WorkSafe issues.
- Leonard: Health Canada says it is safe right now so there is no WCB [now WorkSafe] statement on it.
- Nohr: Motion from floor: That District Health and Safety personnel review WCB [now WorkSafe] regulations regarding employee safety and EMF in schools. [paraphrased].
- Leonard: Not an issue for Health Canada.
- Superintendent: Will ask HR Director about this.
- Leonard: Could refer this to staff and get reply back at Board meeting or asap?
- Horsman: Motion to refer.[not clear to who / which body] / Defeated. 4-4 vote
- Tetrault: Health and Safety Act is different from Federal Health Board. Different legislation.
- Leonard: Left with Nohr’s motion – will Nohr refer it?
- Nohr: Referred.
- Horsman: To Principal of Margaret Jenkins [in public seats] through the Chair: Staff and parent votes were in the majority for WiFi at the school [182 of 308 families responded to the school WiFi survey / questionnaire. 147 = yes, WiFi; 35 = no Wifi] and the Board will not second-guess that vote, so Margaret Jenkins as a WiFi free school is not going to work. The Board did turn this over to schools.
- Margaret Jenkins Principal: Will need about 8 more routers than the 2 the District provides to have the school completely WiFi’d.
5. Superintendent’s Report: Subcommittee on Public Engagement: Dealing with page 14 only of the agenda attachment tonight. Pages 14 – 15 will be dealt with in June, and in September the entire package [of Public Engagement proposed policies – see entire document as attachment to agenda and on District website] will come back to the Board for approval. [Or not.] Turn process over to Chair Leonard.
[January 14, 2013, OPPS: McNally: Board make available the audio recordings of Board meetings be publicly accessible on the SD61 website via the drop-down menu “Board of Education” / Board Meetings, through a link placed above “Public Meeting Process”. [Not exactly. This is what I sent in: That the audio recordings of Board meetings be publicly accessible on the SD61 website via the drop-down menu “Board of Education” / Board Meetings, through a link placed above “Public Meeting Process” .] Orcherton moved referral to the Ad Hoc Committee on public engagement. / Defeated. For: Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, Orcherton Against: Alpha, McNally, Loring-Kuhanga, Nohr. Moved Alpha: The question of recording be referred to the Board meeting of January 21 for consideration at that time. / Carried. For: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McEvoy, McNally, Nohr Against: Horsman, Leonard, Orcherton.]
[January 21, 2013 Board meeting: McEvoy / Ferris: The question of recording be referred to the Ad Hoc Committee on public engagement. / Carried. For: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, Orcherton Against: Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr.]
- Leonard: Will go through the points as before, and see which ones we have consensus on.
Bullet Points 1 and 2: Audio / video recording
- McNally: Videotaping not a current term; change to digital recording
- Nohr: Would record be archived?
- Leonard: No, would be dropped from system.
- McNally: (to chair) Where did you get that information? It hasn’t been discussed with Trustees.
- Linda Travers (public): Elect Trustees to be accountable.
- Alpha: We’re elected by the public and manage public funds. Everything that is said here is in public domain. People should be able to record it.
- Orcherton: People have agendas. I wouldn’t have control over the videotape. Don’t feel comfortable with people coming and recording who they what to on video. No control over what is done with it. May not feel comfortable speaking my mind if recorded.. Would not be able to do my job. Legislature is steamed and recorded but pubic not allowed; same at the city of Victoria.
- Nohr: Support transparency and engagement by allowing recording. Low voter turnout. Low percentage of people who understand what Trustees do. Have not seen anyone her who has not been well-intentioned.
- Loring-Kuhanga: Agree with Nohr and Alpha. Public has a right to know. We need the public more than ever in this current climate of underfunding.
- Ferris: Haven’t heard a rationale yet that makes me think that one record won’t be enough. Delighted when media come; educational. Offensive component here.
- McNally: It’s possible that anyone could make a video of McNally’s 5 Worst Seconds At The Board Table. That’s public life; loss of that kind of control comes with the territory. One legal opinion has stated that public recording of a public event is permissable. Software exists for capturing the video off the SD61 website and doing whatever with it, anyway.
- Horsman: We’re not taking motions here; it’s clear that we don’t all agree on this one.
- Milne (public): Media are masters of slicing and dicing video for their own agendas. McNally’s point re software is true.
Point 3: Record to be posted on District website asap
- Milne: ASAP is too vague.
- Loring-Kuhagna: Within a week after the Board meeting.
- Alpha: Ok with asap.
- McNally: Within a week.
- Nohr: Within a week.
- Horsman: ASAP is the achievable timeline.
Point 4: Video remain on SD61 website until next Board meeting.
- Alpha: It should be archived.
- Nohr: Add “and then archived”.
- Loring-Kuhanga: Have it present as other Board minutes are.
- Orcherton: Should be archived as a record.
- Director of Information Technology, SD61 Ted Pennell: Could use private channel YouTube – no limits on size of files archived. Could host on District website but might have to add capacity.
Point 5: Site visits tracked: OK with all; will provide info re possibly adding streaming video later.
Point 6: Live streaming considered after video for one year: Director of IT: Streaming will add cost.
Point 7: No recording at Standing Committee meetings
- Horsman: Not fair to the public to record at those meetings. Opportunity for dialogue with the public and public didn’t sign on for being recorded.
- Loring-Kuhanga: When members of the public are at public meetings, should expect this. Have been in many meetings with many cameras, with no special notice.
- Alpha: Support this as is. Some people may not be comfortable being recorded. The anxiety might be too much, and we would not hear that voice.
- McNally: There is email access to Trustees for people with a high level of anxiety – there is no compulsion to present in public. This is a digital age and much is recorded that didn’t used to be.
- Nohr: Tonight’s discussion is an example of valuable public information. Could accommodate it by not recording if someone doesn’t want to be recorded. Most people want their point of view publicized.
Leonard: Points 2 and 7 will come forward to next meeting. [What about 4? No agreement there.]
6. Finance and Legal Affairs:
A. Policy and Regulation 5131.5 Smoking: adds “e cigarettes” / Carried. For: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton Against: Loring-Kuhanga [The previous Board turned Policy review over to Senior Administration. I said at one point I would not vote for any Policy changes that Trustees weren’t part of generating. Obviously, I waffle on this. Policy review may be different from Policy development. Or maybe that’s semantics. Need to bring a motion again that makes Trustees part of Policy review. A motion can return, just not in the same session. A session in this environment is a meeting.]
- Horsman: Aren’t e cigarettes just air?
- Alpha: E cigarettes are 18% nicotine and the expelled air contains nicotine.
- Loring-Kuhanga: Support the change but will vote against as object to Trustees allowing administration to change Policy.
- Leonard: Our job is to vote on the change.
History side trip::
- January 16, 2012 Board Meeting [placed as Notice of Motion as, at the time, motions from the floor were seemingly discouraged]: Loring-Kuhanga: Establish a small working committee of 2 trustees, 1 executive, 1 teacher, 1 administrator, 1 parent, 1 CUPE to review all policies and regulations and report revisions to OPPS monthly. / Moved to Operations Planning and Policy (OPPS) Feb 13. (Finally showed up on the May 14 OPPS agenda.)
- 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. For: Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr Against: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, Orcherton Absent: McEvoy
B. Delete Policy 1330.4 School Facilities: Use of Tobacco [from the days when smoking on site was ok but “discouraged”] / Carried. Unanimous.
C. Delete Policy and Regulation 4219.1 Retirement: All Board Employees [Discriminatory on basis of age; in contravention of BC Human Rights Code – last reviewed 1998, There were two different Regulations with the same number; both have been deleted] / Carried. Unanimous.
- Orcherton: Point of Order: To clarify, District Leadership Team reviews and updates Policies, they don’t develop them. The Board has the final say.
- McNally objects; cut short by gavel: “This is not a Point of Order: Robert’s Rules says that any member who notices a breach of the rules has a right to call immediate attention to the fact and insist that the rules be enforced by raising a point of order.”
Policy tangent: Policy 2015: The District Leadership Team shall review Regulations. [But never mind our own Policy; reportedly, Policy review was outsourced to senior administration by the previous Board.]
Director of Human Resources introduced new Attendance Support [aka Attendance Management] hire, Katie Dragert, PhD (Neuroscience). Experience in attendance support at CN and VIHA [now Island Health.
- Attendance Support: Employees have chosen the work they do. All staff adhere to the SD61 mission statement. People want to do their best, when they are healthy. Health and Wellness supports change through environmental design. Three major points of focus: 1. Wellness 2. Disability management 3. Attendance support . Bike to Work, hand washing campaign in September, District-wide wellness program – nutrition, mental health, Employee Assistance Program, stress reduction, foster school district connections. Safety, Health and Wellness bulletins quarterly. Disability management / attendance support with sick absence days to achieve return to work sooner than if these supports not in place.
- McNally: Good to hear term “sick absence” instead of “absenteeism” which is pejorative.
- Loring-Kuhanga: Met with all employee groups?
- HR Director: Not yet; at the beginning stage of collecting data.
- Tetrault, GVTA: Thanks to Loring-Kuhanga for raising point regarding communication with employee groups. Issue of process in this District. Don’t know what programs will look like and what teachers can expect.
- Alpha: When you consult after the program develops, that’s backwards process. You get better buy in if you consult as the program is developed.
- Superintendent. Would agree. But Dragert has only been with District for short time at this point.
8. Facilities Planning
A. Capital Projects Update: Report from Director of Facilities: Quadra seismic upgrade finished by end of June; Oak Bay new building on schedule; next George Jay and Tillikum. Quadra is heritage structure so steel work is visible in interior. Will be a pole at front; have been in consultation with Aboriginal Nations Education; will have new electrical system. Tillikum project is short term and will not require relocation of classes. Will do lower classrooms this summer, upper rooms next summer. George Jay will relocate to Richmond. A grant was received from the provincial Carbon Fund [that schools pay for] to replace old boilers as well.Oak Bay High School is on schedule; new building will be occupied September 2015, at which the the old buildings will be demolished and fields worked on. YouTube video “Oak Bay High School: Construction to April 2014.
- Tetrault: Desirability of gender-neutral washrooms.
9. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items: None [requires motion and majority vote in the In Camera meeting]
10. New Business / Notice of Motion
A. Notice of Motion [This was not a Notice of Motion, but a Standing Committee motion from the floor as it will be debated and voted on here. A Notice of Motion is simply that: a notice that a motion will be coming to a future meeting. So let’s be clear: a motion from the floor is always accepted]: Trustee Salary Increase Mechanism
Ferris: That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) Chair ask three members of the public to establish an ongoing mechanism for the re-imbursement of trustees for the duration of their term and that it be initiated in December for each new board. [Reimbursement means payback of money spent, so this will likely be amended to “re mu ner a tion” (an amount of money paid to someone for the work that person has done), or as some refer to it, “stipend” ( a fixed sum of money paid periodically for services or to defray expenses). A salary is paid by the employer and as Trustees are the employer, that term might not work.] / Carried. For: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, Orcherton Against: Alpha Abstain: McNally, Nohr
- Ferris: Almost all city councils have such a mechanism so councils don’t have to deal with it.
“While giving trustees a modest increase would do no great financial harm, it would be bad optics. There’s a jarring dissonance in pleading poverty with the province at the same time you’re considering giving yourself a raise. “ (Times Colonist, October 24, 2013)
“Ferris has now recommended that the board table the matter until after the municipal elections in November 2014. Trustees will vote on his new motion Monday night. The formula established in 2005 was supposed to take it out of trustees’ hands, but that hasn’t always worked, he said. [It’s hard not to comment, but I won’t.] “You have to do something. Every year that you put it off, the increase that you’re getting looks bigger, right? So what are you doing?” Ferris said. “There has to be some compensation, because you’re going to give up time. So if you want to attract people … you have to make it doable.” The trustees’ last raise was a 25 per cent increase approved on Dec. 8, 2008, when their pay jumped from $13,932 a year to the current $17,424. The stipends for the board’s chairperson and vice-chairperson are $3,000 and $1,500 annually. “(Times-Colonist, November 16, 2013)
- Leonard: Some Boards are using this method to keep this at arm’s length from the Board.
- Nohr: Like the idea but concerned with selection of members of the public – what will the process be?
- Leonard: It’s the Board Chairs prerogative to select members – it is an established mechanism. [Established how? Bylaw 9140 Ad Hoc Committees of the Board says nothing about this. Policy 1163 Consultation might apply. It looks impossible to be part of this process unless you’re invited though. Policy 1220 Community Advisory Committees may not apply as this isn’t strictly an “educational” matter, but then again, the money is School District money, your taxes, so as it’s not going into the classroom directly, but directed to Trustee stipends, maybe it is an education issue. If the SD61 Board really wants to improve public engagement , engagement in substantive work needs to be more open than on a very selective “invitational” basis. ]
- Horsman: Would be important that the people not be running for School Trustee in November election.
- Loring-Kuhagna: Use remuneration in comparison with other Districts?
- Leonard: 2011 Board overturned that.
B. Nohr: That the Board request that senior administration provide a detailed summary of the 2013-14 Class Size and Composition Report. / Defeated. For: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr Against: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, Orcherton
- Leonard: The Ministry doesn’t ask for class size and composition reports, and we have never made that public.
- McNally: Vancouver School Board published a Class Size and Composition Report in 2013, and will again. There has been no uproar .
- Alpha: For first two years of 2008-20011 Board term the Superintended did that and made the informant public .
- Loring-Kuhanga: This information was public in SD63 .
- Leonard: No longer a requirement; it was then, not now. Composition report now done by lump sum.
- Tetrault (GVTA): Encourage vote in favour. School level information is valuable in contrast to only District level information. Critical information that shows effects of removal of class size and composition language by the Ministry . District averages misrepresent the reality in classrooms. This report would give a picture of the reality of the services that each school needs.
C. McNally: That the Board encourage the Ministry of Education to support openStudent and to abandon their commitment to MyEducation BC/Aspen. / Defeated. For: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr Against: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, Orcherton
- Rationale: [Excerpts from “Dangerous Linkages“, Rob Wipond’s May 2014 report in Focus magazine, which includes comments on data gathering by the Province by Saanich IT Director, Saanich School Distict 63 Superintendent, Christopher Parsons, post-doc at U of T Citizen Lab, BC Civil Liberties Director Micheal Vonn]
Saanich has received investment interest from school districts outside BC, so openStudent may be resuscitated; however, most school districts have now buckled to the government’s imposing deadline and signed on to MyEducation BC, and Saanich may have to as well. But the mysteries surrounding the government’s plans for student information are causing worry.
MacDonald clarified that BC student information systems contain not just exam results and class grades, but report card comments, attendance, discipline incidents, information about medical issues and special needs, and more. “I don’t think people are realizing what significant information could be shared,” said MacDonald. “I don’t want to be old-fashioned about it, but I’m a bit nervous.”
“There’s a lot of detailed information there about each individual who passes through our education system,” said Agnew. “It is something that needs to be safeguarded at every level. This is why we believe firmly that this should be controlled by the education community…I don’t know [the government’s] agenda, and I don’t know that anyone really knows their agenda. But as a parent, as a taxpayer, I think it’s a slippery slope. I’d be very concerned about some of the potential.”
Furthermore, Ferrie pointed out that the data that MacDonald was describing is only a fraction of what MyEducation BC will capture. While developing openStudent, Ferrie said they analyzed the information BCeSIS was designed to capture and found that over 70 percent seemed superfluous to BC’s educators and education system, so they built openStudent “leaner.” And indeed, MyEducation BC is designed not just to track basic student records but also to act as a comprehensive online school administration, teaching, learning, assessment, and intra-school communications tool. In principle, with MyEducation BC, nearly every significant activity an administrator, teacher or student does could be saved to each person’s permanent record. …. [Parsons asks] “…could algorithmic programs identify “at risk” youth, and automatically place warning flags on their records that would follow them forever?”
- Leonard: (to senor administration) Where is implementation on this?
- Associate Superintendent Pat Duncan: Have been preparing pilots in preparation for the minute the Ministry oks this. openStudent wouldn’t meet the needs of SD61 [Which needs wouldn’t it meet?]. 51 of 60 school districts have signed on with MyEducation BC. [Does that obviate the serious privacy protection concerns with this program?].
- Loring-Kuhanga: Vancouver Island School Trustees Association sent a letter to the Minister of Education about MyEducation BC expressing some of the same concerns..
[MyEducation BC Top Ten Strengths, a 2010 powerpoint by Ellen McNulty, although labelled confidential and proprietary to Fujitsu, is available online. One slide shows data capture for GPA distribution by counselor name. How hard would it be to rate teachers by GPA distribution? We now have ‘attendance support” for teachers… maybe “achievement support”? Just a conversation, of course.]
- Orcherton: We’ve already signed a memo of agreement.
- Associate Superintendent Duncan: MyEducation BC has the same access that BCeSIS had – it’s too late; this horse is out of the barn.
- Tetrault (GVTA): Which elements of Aspen has SD61 determined to sign on with? Has SD61 gone ahead and determined what the content entry will be?
- Associate Superintendent Duncan: Scope of functionality is to replace BCeSIS.
- Tetrault: When will teachers have some input into this?
- Superintendent: MyEducation BC has huge potential – parent portal, student portal. We are only looking at changing over to the same thing we’ve got.
- Tetrault: BCTF has raised concerns regarding the amount of student data to be gathered.
- Superintendent: It’s a ‘canned system”.
Ministry of Education program capacity and rollout timeline presentation here.
D. McNally: That the Board express in a public statement deep concern with privacy breach and data control implications of MyEducation BC and withdraw from further integration with this data base. / Carried as amended For: Alpha, Horsman, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton Abstain: Ferris
- Amendment: Remove “breach”. No breach has happened./ Carried unanimously.
11. General Announcements: None
12. Adjournment: 10:25