Mon Oct 6/14 7pm Education Policy Standing Committee Tolmie Board Room or School TBA
Tues Oct14/14 7:30pm Operations Policy and Planning Standing Committee Tolmie Board Room
Mon Oct 20/14 7:30pm Board Meeting Tolmie Board Room
The Record Off The Record is my personal record of and commentary on Board and Standing Committee meetings in School District 61 Greater Victoria (Songhees and Esquimalt reserves (CRD), 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.
Minimal required reports from In Camera meetings with occasional additional items included 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 BC School Act states in 69 (2): “If, in the opinion of the board, the public interest so requires, persons other than trustees may be excluded from a meeting.” That is very broad discretion given to a majority of the Board to determine via “opinion” what is kept secret from the public.
The public meeting schedule is posted on the SD61 website as “District Calendar”, under “calendars” on the right menu sidebar. 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”. At this time, 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
- Coloured links for more info /sources. No, you don’t have to click on them.
- Square brackets = my comments. Conventional brackets = common explanation.
- Home page: Widgets for email signup / Facebook / Twitter /sticky posts: Motions and Vote Records to June /14, updates to election day November 15th (and hopefully for the next four years!).
- School District 61 Greater Victoria 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. (May 20 Board Meeting: Original motion Ferris at May OPPS: “That the Board Chair ask three members of the public to establish an ongoing mechanism for remuneration of trustees for the duration of their term and that it be initiated in December for each new Board.” / Carried. For: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, Orcherton Against: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr)
The Report of the SD61 Committee on Public Engagement is posted on the SD61 website. It’s not all that prominent, 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.The final draft of new policy will come to OPPs for debate, discussion and vote any time now– OPPS as a Standing Committee has opportunities for questions from the public during the meeting – and then will go to the Board for a final debate and vote, very soon.
It’s taken close to three years to get this far in regard to having a [highly controlled] question period on the Board agenda. (May 2012 OPPS agenda: Loring-Kuhanga: Provide two opportunities on every Board meeting agenda for public questions. / Defeated. For: Alpha, McNally, Nohr, Loring-Kuhanga. Against: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, Orcherton. McEvoy absent. ) 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 general “loss of control” to all those wild people who typically attend School Board meetings. “Control” is heard frequently in these discussions.
Bylaw 9368: Procedure of Board Meetings:
“100.00 In all meetings of the Board of Trustees, procedures shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, except where provisions of the bylaws of the Board or the Schools Act may conflict, in which case the latter shall prevail.” [I’ve never been provided with an example illustrating how the School Act could conflict with Robert’s Rules.]
Bylaw 9360: General Meeting of the Board: “(3): 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.” Catherine Alpha, Edith Loring-Kuhagna Deborah Nohr, and I have made such a call at least three times, and every time have been denied. It has been pointed out that in one case of 3 trustees calling a meeting that was refused, the Bylaw that should have been used was the In Camera bylaw. The thing is, 3 trustees called a meeting and it has to be one or the other of the two applicable Bylaws. Here’s an idea: call the meeting and do it under the appropriate Bylaw. Instead, not one of the three “3 trustee” meetings called for by Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally , Nohr since January 2012 has occurred.
Robert’s Rules side trip: Motion From the Floor vs Notice of Motion:
- Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 11th Edition:P4, pp 121-124: ”…there may be an additional requirement of previous notice, which means that the notice of the proposal to be brought up – at least briefly describing its substance – must be announced at the preceding meeting or must be included in the call of the meeting at which it is to be considered….the call of a meeting is generally sent to all members a reasonable time in advance…” Notice of Motion is not the same thing as making a motion from the floor.
- Making a motion [from the floor, ie making a motion that is not on the agenda, and making it during the meeting] : Until fairly recently this was not allowed as movers of motions from the floor were told that there had to be notice of motion and that the item would go on the next agenda. [My insisting on application of Robert’s Rules was also called “nit-picking at one meeting.] Paraphrasing Robert’s Rules of Order 11th Edition, p 33 – 42: Obtain the recognition of the Chair during the appropriate section of the agenda for your motion. Do not discuss or explain the rationale for your motion before it is on the floor – ie recognized by the Chair and seconded. Make the motion, and obtain a second. State the rationale. Debate occurs. A vote occurs. The motion is disposed of.
A motion can be renewed, ie the same motion that was defeated can be brought back, at a subsequent meeting: “A motion is considered renewed if it was made and disposed of without being adopted and then made again …an assembly should not have to deal with the same motion or substantially the same motion more than one time in a single session.” A session is defined as “ a regular weekly, monthly, or quarterly meeting for an established order of business in a single afternoon or evening...”.
To restate, as bringing a motion back to a SD61 agenda is often unilaterally” not allowed” or ruled out of order by Chairs, in obvious contravention of Robert’s Rules, and Bylaw 9368 [I know, it’s only a Bylaw]:
- Making a motion again after it has been defeated at a previous meeting is called renewal of the motion. All you need to do for this motion is to make the same motion again at your next monthly meeting. You can do this regardless of how you voted on the original motion.
In Camera meeting before the public meeting: 6:30 – 7:30.
Board Meeting September 15, 2014
Entire agenda available on District website; 76 pages. Not reproduced here; includes attached Audited Financial statements (money already spent and committed via last year’s budget discussions and motions). Bring your questions to the next OPPS meeting, October 14, as there is always a lot of information to deal with in budget presentations.
It is common for the Auditor General to make recommendations to Boards in the audited financial statements about any aspect of School District governance. This fact is not an in camera secret, though the substance of the recommendations may be, depending on the recommendations’ scope and subject and the School District. Some examples from the School Board Governance project initiated by former Auditor General John Doyle that weren’t deemed to be in camera issues here.
A. Commencement of Meeting: Chair: Orcherton
A.1. Approval of the Agenda: Adopted, with amendments to allow additional speaker on speaker list, Trustee Report from Nohr and Trustee Representative Report, Horsman.
A.3. Business Arising From the Minutes: None
A.4 Student Achievement: No presenters
A.5. District Presentations: None
A.6 Community Presentations:
1. Carolina Tudela
- Parent of student in Grade 12 Vic High. Why is this Board asking teachers to give up their demand for class size and composition language? Support for students with special needs would not be the angst it has been. Parents were misled regarding the Sundance School closure. They believed there was a chance to save their school. [Specific trustees], was it your decision to close the school or the decision of senior administration? These children will be falling through the cracks. Vote those trustees out.
2. Ross Gilbert
- HIgh school teacher. Started teaching after contract stripping. the current government’s strategy is to stall the January 2014 BC Supreme Court decision re the strips until those who remember how it was before the strips retire and no one will remember how it used to be. Asking for removal of all “preconditions” when a BCTF precondition of bargaining is removal of the BCPSEA clause E80 seems to imply that the Board endorsed E80. My employers are also my elected representatives. I understand in camera discussions and votes being used for, for example, contracts and possible awards of tenders. But the “in camera” idea has been warped by this Board. Keeping bargaining and strategies for local bargaining in camera, certainly. But you have no power to influence E80, as you have no participation in bargaining provincially. The government took trustees out. That mindset filters down from leadership at a higher level. Please read this letter from a retired teacher.
3. Caroline Howe
- Parent and teacher with child at South Park Elementary.Class size and composition is an issue. A counsellor is assigned to that school 1 day a week, giving 15 minutes with a child for a couple of weeks in a row. Daughter was assaulted with a hard toy by child in class. Leaving class to go to the music room is intolerably difficult for some kids who have issues with transitions. My voice as a waitress carries more weight than my voice as a teacher – when I need more help on shift as a waitress, if I make the case I can get it. Join us in calling for funding that works . We need removal of E80. I’ve seen a Trustee at South Park 3 times in 10 years. Invitation to all to come. [ Trustees are “encouraged” in policy to visit schools and do actual liaison but the current SD61 culture expects that trustees call principals first to notify re a visit. When I taught in SD61 – last year 2011 – and “the Trustee” called the principal, the really noisy kid who usually spent a lot of time time with an assistant in the hall was sent outside or on a walk and we all ran around cleaning up and putting flowers on the staff room table.That’s not what I want, but until there is a culture shift that seems to be the way school visits may play out And I don’t wander into classrooms. I know what a day can look like and it isn’t always what’s in the lesson plan, due to the sheer number of human-related variables. If a teacher specifically invites me, sure, any time.]
4. David Futter
- Teacher, Rockheights Middle School. Social Justice Chair, GVTA. Teachers’ Charter Rights are being abused by E 80. Support us on this one.
5. Bev Bacon
- Started teaching in 1971. In special education there were separate classes for students with special needs. Then came integration and integration committees. Integration of s students with special needs was implemented without good funding. A child could be with a teacher and / or Education Assistant, neither of whom has special education training. [Some current information on EA education here and here ; UBC teacher education here. CUPE Education Assistants are working on a standard of certification as part of their recent Framework Agreement – see 6b – this proposed Framework may have had some changes after ratification; can[t find the final version online- but 6b remained the same .] That’s a disservice to children as they don’t get appropriate learning experiences. This government’s plan is to degrade public education.(Over 5 minutes: time was called ; Chair asked for speaking notes to be emailed.)
A.7 Trustees’ Reports :
Esquimalt: Leonard / McNally
Mt Doug: Nohr
Oak Bay: McEvoy
Vic High: Ferris
Spectrum: Alpha / Lornig-Kuhanga
- Nohr:Visited strike lines Appreciate the sacrifice being made by CUPE and teachers. They both do so much with so little and are being burned out. Joel Bakan statement about E 80 – sensible way though this. A bargaining update from Vince Ready stated that E80 is the government’s way to try to negotiate out of the court ruling.
Bakan’s opinion on the proposal is below.
“I see a lot of sense in the BCTF’s insistence on eliminating E80 from the package for consideration in binding arbitration. The effect of E80, as I understand it, is to force negotiation on classroom size/composition when the nature and scope of the BCTF’s legal rights in respect to those matters is unknown and pending decisions of the BC Court of Appeal, and possibly the Supreme Court of Canada after that,” Bakan wrote in an email.
B. Chair’s Report: Chair Orcherton reported on her activities as Chair: meetings, letters sent on behalf of Board, media presence. On audio file.
C. Board Committee Reports
C.1 Education Policy Development Committee:
a) Minutes: September 8/14 Joint meeting with Operations Committee: for information only, attached p 11-13 agenda packup. [Official minutes are posted on the SD61 website after this Standing Committee approves them at its next meeting.]
D. District Leadership Team Reports
D.1 Superintendent’s Report: On audio file. (Superintendent had spoken previously in the meeting at various times.)
Secretary Treasurer: Refer to a)ii above (not numbered but think of them that way), will be another $2 million in expenses resulting in an $8 million structural deficit [as usual; the structural deficit is growing and is the amount the SD61 spends to maintain programs over and above what the government gives the District in funding. The annual SD61 “one time only savings” can’t pay that off indefinitely. Not sustainable.]
- Nohr: [page 2 of 6, Auditor’s Background to financial statements; p 15 packup] (Query re Original Education Curriculum Sales and Grad Fund -on audio file)
- Nohr: [Page 4/6, page 17 packup] (Query about $50,000 not spent -on audio file)
- Nohr: (Page 72 packup) What is process for review of businesses and their contracts? (Question and answer on audio file.)
- Ferris: These numbers are from the previous year’s budget, not new information.
- McNally: Financial statements are complex and even though the information was presented last year, additional time for questions from the public needs to be built in.
- Leonard: Questions can come to the October Operations meeting. Bring this packup.
It’s worth listening to the discussion on the audio file. There’s quite a bit of information, in discrete points.
E. Reports From Trustee Representatives:
BCPSEA: Ferris: None
Budget Advisory: Alpha, Ferris, Horsman, Orcherton: None
Culture and Community: Ferris, 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): Ferris, Orcherton: None
Saanich Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee: Loring-Kuhanga: None
Healthy Saanich Advisory Committees: McNally: None [no longer attending unless specific agenda item impacting SD61]
Saanich Parks, Trails and Recreation: Loring-Kuhanga None
Success By Six: McEvoy, McNally: None [No meetings since initial one early in 2012 school year] [ The active section of this initiative locally seems to be “1000×5” , and I haven’t been assigned to that initiative.]
Swan Lake / Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary: Horsman: None
Vancouver Island Labour Relations Association: Ferris: None [no website exists for VILRA]
Victoria Chamber of Commerce: Nohr: None
(Board Chair Orcherton expressed intent some time ago to get an update from all organizations as to whether they want a Trustee liaison or not.)
F. New Business / Notice of Motions: Notice of Motion
Notice of motion means notice of a motion intended for the agenda of a meeting in the future. Motions that are accepted from the floor – ie at this meeting – are not “Notices of Motion”, but motions from the floor and are treated as any other motion to be debated in New Business.
F.1 McNally : [Only copy given to Administrative Assistant; no other copy; motion will appear on next agenda. McNally fail on record keeping for this one.]
G. Communications: None.
H. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items: Board letter regarding class size and composition and negotiation.
I. Adjournment: 8:40 Motion to adjourn as usual by Ferris; seems “traditional”.
Many letters have been sent by School Districts; Qualicum’s below. Next post will be all letters to date.