April 20/15 Board Meeting: The Record Off The Record: Hand Delivered

P1: Next Meetings, Backgrounder
P2: SD61 Applicable Bylaws / Standing Committees
P3: Board Meeting
P4: District PAC (aka DPAC, VCPAC) Constitution excerpts

Links for more info /sources underlined.

Sticky post: Motions and Trustee Voting Records  January 2012 – March 2015. The District now posts a record of motions carried, but the motions that fail are  equally interesting.

Letters from BC School Boards

  • to the Minister of Education, and others on a variety of topics here on a BCSTA page. I’ve reformatted many School Board letters that BC School Boards copy to other Boards and more, on various topics, in order to post them here to make them accessible. But School Board Letters #9 was  the last major letters post here because of time constraints re  file  conversion.   Please check now and then – these letters often come out daily. Board Chairs write these letters at the direction of the majority of Trustees on their Board. Wording is fined tuned in Board discussion; sometimes these letters are “ghostwritten” by District staff.

Letters from the SD61 Board Chair

  • to the Minister of Education and others are on the SD61 Board Advocacy page. (My motion to set up the Advocacy page carried some time ago, so you can find letters sent by the Chair on various topics related to public education and SD61 in particular, and replies we receive, on that page.) The Chair writes these letters following direction of the Board through motions carried by the majority of 9 votes, or consensus on occasion. The Chair cannot originate letters independently on behalf of the Board. On occasion these letters are completely or partially “ghostwritten” by District staff.

Next Meetings
Wed April 22 7 pm Special Board Budget Meeting : Tolmie Building: Final debate and final vote on approving 2015-16 Budget

Tues April 28 7 pm Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (Victoria DPAC) AGM Reynolds Secondary School library

Mon May 4 7 pm Ed Policy
Mon May 11 7:30 pm OPPS
Tues May 19 7:30 pm Board meeting

Macaulay K-5 Elementary School Library

Macaulay K-5 Elementary School Library

 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, part of Saanich and the Highlands, and the Traditional Territories of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations). Official approved minutes of Board and Standing Committee meetings and official voting records are posted on the SD61 website under the “Board of Education” menu one month after the meeting. Agendas are posted for the public the Friday before the meeting.

Required reports from In Camera meetings are posted beside the relevant meeting. (Click “view all” on the Bylaws, Policies and Regs menu). “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.” [Kind of an antique process now that these are posted online.] Key word: “general”. Any report beyond the basic one required must be done by an in camera motion and majority vote. The 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”.] Full board meetings must be held in public unless the board decides that it is in the public’s interest to hold a private session (closed or in-camera meeting). However, it is important not to abuse this power. Potential controversy or embarrassment to the board is not usually sufficient reasons for an in-camera meeting.” [“Usually” leaves lots of room to move. “Never” might be better wording.]

Civic governments are bound by the Community Charter (except for the City of Vancouver) and move into in camera meetings by public motion of the Council, and the public has to leave for the duration of the secret meeting and them come back. School Boards are governed by the BC School Act and Chairs can set in camera meetings before public meetings.

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 or video 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. However, the video recording was debated at length in 2014 OPPS meetings.] Motions may be shortened but retain essential wording. Seconders not noted.

School District 61 Greater Victoria is the 6th largest employer in the Capital Regional District with a 2014-15 budget of $195,330,769.  Out of that,  nine Trustees are paid approximately $1,400 a month, each. Each Trustee has access to an individual $2000 annual professional development fund, which at this point, rolls over if not used.

About Diane McNally