BYLAW 9368 SD61Greater Victoria
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.
Members of OPPS: Chair Leonard; McNally, Paynter, Watters (ex officio Loring-Kuhanga – vote but not counted for quorum).
Operations Policy and Planning, September 19, 2016
Not in attendance: Ferris, Loring-Kuhanga
Agenda adopted. OPPS minutes June 13/16 approved with correction to include microhousing delegation followup. It was left off a previous agenda. No Business Arising from the minutes.
4. Presentations to the Committee: Regrets from Darren Alexander. Supplied handout below.
Considering an Open Source Policy for SD61
My regrets for being unable to attend your meeting directly, this evening.
Software applications are now essential to our school curricula, and an indispensable tool that is ever more interwoven into the pedagogy and practice of our teachers and students. In the past, proprietary software purchases and contracts have been the de facto approach for school districts. The costs are ever increasing, the stipulations ever narrowing, and the support ever varying.
An alternative to proprietary software, Open Source software is developed by vast, magnanimous communities of developers and educators, around the globe. The software typically rivals and often exceeds the proprietary, commercial versions of the same. Because there is a huge and growing network of users, the support keeps flowing, freely, by way of regular upgrades and help forums.
Open source applications, rather than being copyright, are generally issued under Creative Commons or Copyleft licenses, allowing for free or relatively inexpensive adaptation, even for institutional use.
Take as one example the Microsoft Office Suite. Contractual obligations for this software costs our school boards considerable sums, on an ongoing basis. (Surprise yourself by finding out just how much.) But moreover, our schools become purveyors, essentially marketers, of Microsoft product. And our students are assimilated to consume, if not rely, on the commercial product.
And yet there exists Open Office. The word processor and the spreadsheet applications rival those of Microsoft, in fact they are completely compatible. But there exists no fee or contractual obligation, to install and operate this software on our school networks.
For just about every commercial, proprietary software application there exists an Open Source derivative or alternative.
As added benefit for the students, they are able to freely access and install the very same hardware on their own computers and devices. This ensures an even playing field, unencumbered by the economics of the tech marketplace.
In fact, many countries in the world, including Mexico and China, have implemented Open Source policies, and so depend on Open Source applications for their school curricula.
It goes without saying, the cost savings are enormous. Huge savings are presented also by way of time and costs to administration.
Further, students are exposed to an aspect of the sharing economy, as opposed to the usual status quo of commercial product and merchandising.
Too often the Open Source options are dismissed on vagaries suggesting the “lesser quality” or “unreliability” of these products. I claim with authority that this is simply not true. The real reason for reliance on the proprietary software is ultimately the result of effective lobbying, on part of those industries.
As such, I will attach a link to an article that provides the reader with a good historical review of the Open Source movement, to better understand the potency and scale of this significant development that is shaping our technological lives whether we know it or not:
I’ll leave it there for now. Please don’t hesitate to call on me again for further information or references to support my case above. I’d be happy to meet or present as required.
5. Superintendent’s Report:
a) Superintendent introduced Student Rep Dawson Gittens , Lambrick Park High School.
- Gittens: Worked on student bus pass issue last year; looking forward to increased student participation on issues going forward.
b) Technology For Learning Strategy update: Walsh; report pp 8-9 agenda
- McNally: # of teachers not interested?
- Director of Facilities Longridge: No numbers but very positive uptake.
c) Burnside Education Centre: Superintendent; report pp 10-11. Recommended motions:
i. That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria), open the former site of Burnside Elementary School and provide the appropriate information to the Ministry of Education according to the School Opening and Closure Order In Council with the temporary name of the Burnside Education Centre effective September 30, 2016. / Carried. Unanimous.
ii. That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) direct the Superintendent to make application to the Ministry of Education to access School District Ministry of Education restricted capital up to $1.9 million for the purposes of rehabilitating the Burnside Education Centre. / Carried. Unanimous.
- Paynter: Timeline for completion?
- Loveridge: Plan to have Burnside work done over summer 2017; SJ Willis completed January 2018 for seismic upgrade schools to use.
- Orcherton: Pressures on capital reserve fund?
- Superintendent: Potential cost overruns on Cloverdale; replacement of Cedar Hill might result in significant Ministry expectations for District contribution.
- Walsh: District will also have $3.8 million in local capital from Marigold highway interchange. No further known projects requiring capital.
6. Personnel Items: None
7. Finance and Legal Affairs
A. Parent Education Fund Report and Recommendations: Deputy Superintendent Green
(Extensive report on uptake and projects pp 15-25)
- Stephanie Longstaff (Sooke District parent): DPAC is the legislated voice of parents.
Only, it’s not. It’s *a* voice of parents.
School Act 8.4 : District parents’ advisory council
8.4 (1) A parents’ advisory council, through its elected officers, may apply to the board for the establishment of a district parents’ advisory council. (2) On receipt of an application under subsection (1), the board must establish a district parents’ advisory council for the school district consisting of representatives elected to the council under subsection (3). (3) Each parents’ advisory council in a school district may elect annually one of its members to be its representative on the district parents’ advisory council for a term of not more than one year. (4) There must be only one district parents’ advisory council for each school district.[This does not mean other parents can’t talk to the Board.In SD61 several parents have presented to the Board saying VCPAC does not represent them.]
Purpose and operation of district parents’ advisory council
8.5 (1) Subject to section 67 (5.1), the district parents’ advisory council may advise the board on any matter relating to education in the school district. [Clearly, this does not mean no other parents can.] (2) A district parents’ advisory council must make bylaws governing its meetings and the business and conduct of its affairs, including bylaws governing the dissolution of the council.(3) A superintendent of schools for the school district, a designate of the superintendent or a trustee of the school district may attend any meeting of the district parents’ advisory council.
- Longstaff (continued): Dismayed for many reasons.Shocked at taking away money from DPAC. [Some BC School districts give no money to their DPAC. This funding was originally given to PACS at the school level, and VCPAC consolidated it by taking it from PACs. More below.] Legislation says parents with a problem need to go to DPAC. [It doesn’t.] Confused by the amount of administration time spent on this report when the Board could just write a cheque to DPAC. Now will probably have to put the price up for tickets to the Parent Conference. [Deputy Superintendent Green did say the amount of time spent on this report is not sustainable. Maybe we don’t need a report, and can trust PACs with the money.]
- Smith: Some of these events are student events that invite parents. That’s not a parent education event. [So, students can’t educate parents?] This is not new and not an efficient use of the money.Just give the money to DPAC and we will earmark it.That would be more respectful of DPAC. No other partner group had to go through this. [No other partner group is funded by grants from the Board, either.]
- Orcherton: Costs to administer this fund were concern of mine going in. We have taken money away from DPAC. I may be bringing a motion to the board.
- Paynter: As a parent I get excellent value from the VCPAC Parent Conference. But PAC requests show the parent conference doesn’t meet all the needs. The fund gives parents more direct control of their learning opportunities. Providing additional opportunities is not undermining DPAC. The legislation language does not support claims made here in regard to what legislation mandates re DPAC. PAC’s can advise the Board as well.[Anyone can, in the 5 minute presentation item on every Board agenda.]
- Longstaff: (addressing Paynter): How can you say the board supports the Vancouver Island Parent Conference when the Board has taken money away? How exactly do you support the Vancouver Island Parent Conference?
- McNally: (interjects) Chair, questions are directed through the Chair,not to individual trustees. That procedure, in Robert’s Rules, has been a subject of discussion at the Board when the Board was discussing adding a question period to the Board agenda. Chair ,do you see this differently?
- Leonard: No. All questions through the Chair.
- Nohr: This initiative has been extremely successful. Many parents wanted to access funding apart from VCPAC / DPAC. They were interested at the school community level, not necessarily at the DPAC level. The interest in a variety of proposals is exciting. For $7000 this was excellent value. It would be good to know how much time the Deputy Superintendent put in.
B. Policy Subcommittee Report: Recommended motions from the subcommittee:[At this point Whitaker abstained on all motions.Whiteaker’s Notice of Motion explains that.] [Orcherton pointed out at #5 that seconders are not needed for motions in Standing Committees – Robert’s Rules of Order. Chair Leonard, after 20 years on the Board, had been asking for seconders to each motion. ]
- That the Board approve revised Policy 1160 Public Information. (p 30) / Carried. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
- That the Board delete Policy 1160.1 Fees for Access to Information and create Policy 1161 Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act . (p 31) / Carried. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
- That the Operations Policy and Planning Committee refer the draft regulations for Policy 1161 Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, be circulated to our stakeholders for comment and be presented at the October 2016 Operations Policy and Planning Committee. (p 33) / Carried as amended. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
- Walsh (Secretary-Treasurer): This revision makes it official that the Superintendent the primary privacy officer. This was delegated years ago but there is no record of it.
- Futter (GVTA): What about WCB “right to know by worker” legislation? Aspects of FIPPA that don’t apply, for example persons who have perpetrated violence.
- Walsh: This will come out in the consultation process.
- Orcherton: Amendment: Change “October” to “future”. October seems too soon.
- Watters: Amendment to amendment: Change “future” to “January”. Good to have a time set.
- Leonard [fond of reiterating “20 years at the Board table”]: You can’t make an amendment to an amendment.
- Chorus of Trustees: Yes, you can! It’s in Robert’s.
4. That the Board accept the recommendation of the Policy SubCommittee that Policy 1322.1 Student Participation in Public Contests and Events, be considered reviewed with no changes. (p 35) / Carried. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
5. That the Board delete Policy 1160.2 Personal Information Received in Confidence.(p 36) / Carried. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
- Walsh: Will be a Regulation to deal with exceptions, eg Teacher Regulation Branch, and some harassment issues.
6. That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) delete Policy 1161 Financial Reports. (p 37) / Carried. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
7.That the Board delete Policy 1324.1 Relations Between Public and Students – Business Firms. (p 38) / Carried. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
8.That the Board delete Policy 1332.7 Student Care. (p 39) /Carried. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
- Walsh: Not currently using this policy. We have licensed daycares in our facilities. This policy allows unlicensed daycare. PAC functions where childcare is provided are not affected.
- Paynter: District needs to have some oversight of daycare programs in our schools.As the landlords, and property owners, we should set the standards.
- McNally: Licensed daycares will have a charter or some document that sets out Provincial government oversight and requirements. That area is out of our purview as Trustees.
9. That the Board delete Policy 1410 Board and Municipalities Liaison Re: School Capacities. (p 40)/ Carried. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
- Walsh: School Board and municipality liaison is currently done on an ad hoc basis. Unrealistic to expect Director of Facilities to consult with all 13 municipal bodies. Municipalities send updates to SD61. 10 Year Facilities plan will be going out for circulation.
10.That the Board delete Policy 1411 Inter School District Liaison. (p 41) /Carried. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
- Walsh: Have never heard such reports in time at Board as Trustee or Secretary-Treasurer. Liaison appears to be working well on an informal basis.
- Paynter: This creates reliance on ad hoc liaisons. Trustees should take up a role with our political counterparts and we need structure for that.
- Superintendent: This liaison is part of the work of the Superintendent, Board Chair, and Secretary-Treasurer. This Policy was quite likely part of the planning department that existed in 1975.
- Loveridge: Next issue will be replacing thousands of filters 2 to 3 times a year. Will sample water again in the future. There are signs on fountains that have not had filters installed, cautioning people not to drink.
- Smith: What instructions to staff have regarding water in Foods classrooms ?
- Loveridge: Flush those sources three times a day. Run for 15 seconds before use.
B. 2016-2017 Five Year Capital Plan: Loveridge, recommended motion:
That the Board approve for submission to the Ministry of Education, the 2016/17 Five Year Capital Plan. / Carried. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
- Walsh: The District used to put a “wish list” here. There are two changes: 1 School expansion at Mount Doug needs to wait for the long-term facilities plan. 2 Frank Hobbs has been on a list for replacement but has had many upgrades and does not need replacement. This is the last plan before the long-term Facilities Plan. There will be some changes with the new plan.
- Loveridge: There’s been a lot of work done behind the scenes and consulting to get ready for the Ministry report. Want to thank all who participated in that.
- Watters: Will SD61 be applying for some relief with the cost of water remediation through the School Enhancement Program?
- Loveridge: District did appeal to the Ministry, no money resulted. Hoping for some help.
C. School Enhancement Program: Walsh; report pp 48-49)
- Walsh: Will be using all SEP funds for these projects, and can upgrade using some of SD61 funds.
- McNally: For the roofing upgrades Will SD61 be contracting out as the District has no CUPE 382 roofers anymore?
- Loveridge: Yes.
9. Public Disclosure of In Camera Items: None
10. New Business:
A. Orcherton: That the Board reaffirm that stakeholder representatives seated at the Board table have the right to voice without vote as regular public board meetings. / Carried. For: Leonard, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter Against: McNally, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
- Orcherton: Prompted by recent decision of the Board Chair to not allow stakeholders at the table to ask questions on the motions . The Board’s Consultation Bylaw 1136 January 1990 affirms this ability.
Bylaw 1136 does not affirm that. It has nothing to say about this issue. The Chair made the ruling as it is in Bylaw – imagine adhering to the Board’s own Bylaws! Bylaws 9360 and 9368 refer only to Trustees debating at Board meetings (not at standing committees). Understanding Robert’s Rules and the Board’s own Bylaws is part of the requirement for this public office., but it’s clear that some trustees have likely never opened the book. Robert’s defines a Board as “the assembly”, and in elected bodies, the assembly does the debate and voting at Board meetings. Boards establish Standing Committees for freer discussion and input. Standing Committees are where stakeholders / members of the public have free and unfettered ability to discuss, debate, and question.But as has been the practice with this Board for decades, the Bylaws have been set aside and considered irrelevant, so some see following them as excessive, while relying on “Board Traditions”. If a Trustee does not like a Bylaw, bring a motion to change it.Ignoring rules you don’t like is not the way to conduct business at a School District Board table.
- [More from Orcherton, summarized}:
- McNally: The Sullivan Commission, regardless of what the recommendations Orcherton is referring to [not at all clear] is not a Committee of the Board and does not affect Robert’s Rules or Board Bylaws. It’s irrelevant to this discussion.The Board motion Orcherton referred to was never enacted. The Superintendent at the time never did develop Policy as required by the motion, and the motion has been sitting there for 30 years unacted on, so it is in order to rescind this motion, and not base “reaffirm” on what was never affirmed in Policy or Bylaw in the first place. [Below]
- Smith: VCPAC changed Executive meeting times to suit the Board’s timeline before 1989. The Board’s work is our work. [ Um. The School Act says District PACs can advise the Board on any educational matter. It does not say the DPAC has the same function as elected Trustees.] There will be no opportunity for VCPAC to talk about motions at the VCPAC meeting.And this is not in harmony with the Consultation Policy. [Motions of the Board are not addressed in that Policy.Policy 1163 has nothing to say about stakeholders speaking a the Board table.]
- Stephanie Longstaff (parent from Sooke District62): Sullivan was a Commission that established parents’ right and responsibility to be involved in their kids’ education. [That is not the topic. No one is arguing with that.] The actions of some on this board are disgusting and disgraceful! [Remember that part about decorum?]
- McNally: (in part, reading from notes) Unarguably, the Board of SD61 as an entity has for many years been resistant to learning and using Robert’s Rules as required for Board functioning according to Bylaw 9368, and has relied instead on opinion in the moment and “tradition”. It is not that long ago that my insistence on using Robert’s Rules as required by the Board’s own Bylaw 9368 was called “nit picking” by Trustee Leonard. The alternatives to following Robert’s as required are making it up as you go along which has resulted in incomprehensible and inconsistent process for both Board members and the public and has been open to favouritism and undemocratic opinion-based autocratic rulings by Chairs. Robert’s says committees are not “assemblies”. The assembly is the elected Board (membership defined on p 3, Robert’s). Members of this assembly are elected trustees, elected to to do the work of the Board, after hearing from stakeholders and in reference to their own principles which were expressed in election platforms. Partners, stakeholders and the public have more or less unfettered opportunity for comment and input in Standing Committees, set up by Boards to provide for broad stakeholder engagement and in order to inform the work of the Board, before the members of the assembly do the work of the elected assembly (the Board) via debate and vote on motions. Anyone is welcome to attend as an observer at Board meetings but participation by other than elected members takes place at the Standing Committee level. If there are times the Chair wants to allow a free discussion at the Board meeting,Quasi Committee of the Whole or Informal Consideration or Relax the Rules are the approved ways to allow that. And in addition to the current question period – a freer form of which was opposed by some Trustees at the time, with the expressed fear of “losing control” – there is a 5 minute presentation opportunity for anyone at every Board meeting.
Trustee Loring-Kuhanga brought a motion to the May 14, 2012 Operations Policy and Planning meeting asking for two public question periods at every Board meeting. This motion was defeated: For: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr. (Absent: McEvoy) Against: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard and Orcherton.
- McNally (continued) Powerful and extensive input opportunities for partners, stakeholders and the public already exist at the Standing Committees, which is one of the major reason our Standing Committees exist. Robert’s Rules allows rescission of a motion that was never acted on (page 305). As the original 1989 motion has been sitting on the record unacted upon for 30 years, the fact that it operates counter to Board Bylaw 9368 which directs debate of Trustees and counter to Robert’s Rules, which defines a Board as an Assembly, and an Assembly as the elected officials of the Board, rescission is warranted. The motion on today’s agenda is out of order and the Chair should rule it so.
- Watters: Cannot find any other School district that do this the way SD61 is doing it.The BC School Trustees Association says Board meetings are held in public, but they are not a public meeting held at the Board. Policy 1163 Consultation referred to by Orcherton is not applicable to this issue.If there is not enough time to consult, a motion is and has often been postponed until consultation takes place. Orcherton’s motion is out of order.
- David Futter (GVTA): The GVTA received the agenda package Thursday and won’t have Executive feedback until after the Board meeting.The current process is too rushed for stakeholders.
- Paynter: Haven’t seen the opportunity to speak to motions used at the table by stakeholders [it has been], but we do need to encourage consultation, with students, PVPA, ASA, CUPE 382 and 947, all partners and stakeholders.How to structure this for the best effect? Agree that there isn’t enough time from when agenda is made public, for people to get organized. Even with a list of topics in the Board Plan, it is still difficult. But see Trustee Whiteaker’s motion for a more effective approach.
- Nohr: At BCSTA meeting new trustees were told that we should operate at 30,000 feet and not engage with what’s going on on the ground. The more informed Trustees are the better they can do the job, and I don’t agree with the 30,000 feet analogy. I don’t know what Robert’s Rules says [The requirement to understand those rules is stated in the Board’s own Bylaws and are the rules of engagement, but a segment of this Board does not want to or can’t play by the rules.] but for me if partner groups have more information or want to comment, I encourage it. It’s inappropriate for people to sit at a meeting for two or five hours without having an opportunity to comment. [True. Which is why I suggested a letter be written to partners about the power of Standing Committees for their input and questions.] I have seen partner groups speak at the Board table. Would like to make an amendment to amend Bylaw 9360 using Trustee Orcherton’s motion.
- Watters: That’s out of order. That changes the Bylaw and there is a process for doing that.
- Nohr: I want to amend the Bylaw.
- Watters: To amend a Bylaw requires a lot more than this.
- Paynter: How can we reaffim when the original motion was not implemented? What does it mean? How will it be enacted?
- Leonard: In my 20 years on the Board stakeholders have been allowed to provide input. [Who “allows” it? Apparently “Board traditions”.]
- McNally:Robert’s Rules allow partner groups to speak, if the majority of Trustees vote to go in to Quasi Committee of the Whole, or Informal Committee – there are mechanisms to do this.[But I guess it’s just too much trouble to read and understand those sections. Just show up and wing it.]
- Watters: Quasi Committee just requires a 2/3 vote of the Board. We want to hear partners’ questions and presentations.
- Whiteaker: Could I ask a question of a stakeholder through the Chair?
- Orcherton: You all are not getting it! Deborah gets it! I don’t care about all this bureaucratic bullshit and rules!
- McNally: Chair! Use your gavel! This meeting requires some decorum!
Orcherton: “Bullshit” is pretty lame – I could do worse.When I was Chair I affirmed common sense to prevail [Some Trustees on the Board for those years – I’m one – would say arbitrary decisions prevailed] and allowed all stakeholders to talk.Other districts should follow our lead.[Orcherton leaves meeting after this vote.]
Common sense like this example, when Trustee Nohr asked a question about VCPAC in 2013 when Orcherton was Board Chair?
- Nohr, question to Mr. Bird through the Chair (Orcherton): “How were the VCPAC objectives and priorities determined?”
- Orcherton: “I will not allow the question.”
Common sense like ruling motions the Chair doesn’t like “out of order” and they’re gone? Common sense like refusing to put motions the Chair doesn’t like on the agenda, so they are never debated? Common sense like saying motions from the floor are out of order and not allowed, when they are completely in order? Common sense like arbitrary rulings, favouritism, and inconsistency?
If you’re going to play hockey, you need to know what “offside” is. Know what I’m saying? A Board meeting isn’t a casual argument in a coffee shop. Or a bar.
B. Whiteaker: That the Board continue to offer the Parent Education Fund for the 2016/2017 year as offered in the 2015/2016 school year. Further the board and struck the communication coordinator to fully inform PACS of this opportunity by September 30, 2016./ Carried. Abstain: Whiteaker
- Whiteaker: This motion supports and encourages the autonomy of PACs at the school level.
- Smith: Don’t know of any parent organization that would advocate for money taken away.
- Whiteaker: This money was 540 b money which PACS had and VCPAC took from PACs and centralized control of it.This money is just going back to PACs. [See C.2 b iv, May 19, 2015 Board meeting for very complete discussion of VCPAC funding, and Whiteaker’s PowerPoint presentation.]
- McNally: Some districts give no money to DPAC. VCPAC / DPAC is “a” voice of parents, not “the” voice.[Examples of answers to my query to School Boards below.]
- Paynter: Any leftover funds should be returned to the Board.[Recently, VCPAC had a $20,000 surplus.It was not returned to the Board.]
Examples of DPAC funding by BC Boards: 1. Does not fund DPAC at all, but does supply a room for DPAC monthly meetings. 2. Does not fund but the DPAC applies for and receives and receive the gaming grant [ all DPACs receive that funding. ]. 3. Provides $8,000. 4. Provides $5000. 6. Provides $4,000. 7. Provides $30,000 to DPAC; district with 149 schools. 8. Before this motion carried, SD61 provided about $16,400 annually. SD61 provides an office in the Tolmie building and school libraries for meetings.
C. Whiteaker: That the Board amend Bylaw 9360 General Meeting off the Board Section 11. B to add “Partner Group Reports”. / Carried. For: Leonard, McNally, Nohr, Paynter, Watters Abstain: Whiteaker
D. McNally: That the board rescind the motion previously passed on January 23, 1989 addressing partner group participation at Board meetings.
All Trustees present agreed by motion to postpone this motion to the next OPPS meeting.It seemed the meeting had reached the limits of rational debate.
11. Adjournment: 10:40 ish pm