A major topic at OPPS meetings now is the Report of the Committee on Public Engagement. Final version will come to a Board vote possibly November 17 after debate and further changes in OPP s November 10.
- December 10/12: That the Board [etc] form an Ad Hoc Committee to review Bylaw 9360 to make recommendations for enhancements for public engagement including a structure for a possible Question and Answer period. The Ad Hoc Committee will include one representative from ASA, CUPE 382, CUPE 947, Exempt, GVTA, VPVA, two members of the public, and the Superintendent of Schools. The committee will report to the Operations, [comma sic] Policy and Planning Committee and will be at no cost to the Board. [No Trustees; the two members of the public were invited by the Chair.]
The resultant Report of the SD61 Committee on Public Engagement
is posted on the SD61 website. Check out the potential restrictions on asking a question at a Board meeting if you’re a member of the public (write it down, put it in a box; the Chair can call it out of order with no challenge), and the potential restrictions on public recording of public meetings (you can’t).
It’s taken almost 3 years to get close to having a [highly controlled] question period on the Board agenda. Loring-Kuhanga brought the motion originally early in 2012. Recently, Qualicum School District 69 managed to answer 39 questions, with questions and answers provided in the minutes, in one meeting.
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-Kuhanga 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. I recently suggested in the OPPS discussion of Public Engagement which includes a revision of this Bylaw, that we just drop this article from the Bylaw as it isn’t working – for some of us.
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. Loring-Kuhanga was told in an OPPS meeting that New Business could not arise as a motion from the floor as a result of reviewing the Minutes. The end. And incorrect. [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...”. Current chairs of Operations and the Board are fond of ruling renewed motions “out of order”, illegally. And autocratically.
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.