Dec 5/16: Ed Policy&Directions / Operations Policy&Planning Combo: The Record Off The Record: Literacy Presentation


Botanical Beach Waves

The Record Off The Record is  my personal record of and  commentary on SD61 Board and  Standing Committee meetings. Official, approved  minutes are on the SD61 website, one  month after the meeting.

SD61 Greater Victoria School District includes students in Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal, parts of Saanich and the Highlands, and the Traditional Territories of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

Sticky post: Motions and Trustee Voting Records
  January 2012 –  June 2016.  Motions may be shortened but retain essential information.

P1: Backgrounders/ Meeting ScheduleTrustee  Appointments
P2: Board or Standing Committee Meeting

P3: District 61 DPAC (aka VCPAC) Constitution excerpts / School Act re DPACs
P4: BCCPAC (British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils) info (no school act basis for BCCPAC)
P5: Students with Intensive Behaviour Support Needs / Severe Mental Illness

Meeting schedule here.   Next meeting Jan 9/17 Ed Policy and Directions. Meeting agendas posted on SD61 website Friday before the meeting. Board meetings  audio and video recorded, though Standing Committees are not. (Under the Board of Education menu.)

A Policy Subcommittee was  formed in the fall of 2016 and is reviewing  Policies,  some of which have not been reviewed for several decades, some of which are redundant, and some of which are job descriptions and not Policy.

Trustees  are assigned by the Chair as members of one of the two standing committees, Education  Policy and Directions, and Operations Policy and Planning. Agenda setting is the prerogative of the Committee Chair, with input from senior administration.

Standing committees are the best opportunity for stakeholders, public, and partner groups to make their views known to Trustees as  Standing  Committee structure operates on less formal   Rules of Order than does the Board, ie. no need for a seconder for a motion, and a Trustee  can speak as many times as the Chair allows; members of the public and presenters can ask questions of each other and engage in dialogue.The question can’t be called in a standing committee, meaning debate can extend for some time. Most substantive debate on motions takes place at the standing committees.

Robert’s Rules state that at a Board meeting debate is by members of the assembly, and members of the assembly are the elected officials.

For OPP and Ed Policy,  “quorum is a majority of trustee members on the committee”.   So assigned Trustees are the ones who count for quorum = 3. Whiteaker’s motion at D.2 b. v on the October Board agenda   carried, so only Trustees who are members of the Standing Committee will have a vote. Others may attend and participate in debate and may bring motions to the table.

 Ad Hoc Committees and their terms of reference are listed n the SD61 website.

Board Chair:
Loring-Kuhanga  Vice-Chair: Ferris


British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) Paynter
British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA) Whiteaker

BOARD STANDING COMMITTEES 2017 (Loring-Kuhanga member of both ex officio)
Operations P&P
: Chair Watters, McNally, Leonard, Paynter
Ed Policy&Dev: Chair Whiteaker, Ferris, Nohr, Orcherton
Policy SubCommittee: Dec/16-Feb/17: McNally&Paynter  :Mar/17–May/17 Ferris&Orcherton


Aboriginal Nations Education Council McNally
District Facilities Planning Committee Ferris
Gender Sexuality Alliance Watters
Equity Ad Hoc Committee Paynter & Watters
French Immersion Advisory Ferris
Needs Budget Advisory Committee Orcherton, Leonard, Nohr
Public Engagement Ad Hoc Committee McNally & Orcherton
Student Registration & Transfer Committee Ferris & Nohr
Middle School Review Committee Whiteaker Leonard


Spectrum Ferris& Leonard
Mount Doug Paynter
Oak Bay Loring-Kuhanga
Reynolds Nohr&Orcherton
Vic High McNally
Lambrick Whiteaker
Esquimalt Watters


Allied Specialists Association Orcherton
CUPE 382 Watters
CUPE 947 Paynter
Exempt Staff Ferris (Alternate –Whiteaker)
GVTA Nohr (Alternate –Leonard)
Principals & VP Edith (Alternate –McNally)


Saanich Arts, Culture & Heritage McNally
Saanich Parks, Trails & Rec Whiteaker
Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee Orcherton
Victoria Family Court & Youth Justice Committee Watters

It’s  good to see December 2016 closing  out with everyone on the SD61 Greater Victoria Board – ok, nearly everyone –  finally realizing that Robert’s Rules of Order are actually not “bureaucratic bullshit“, but established process the Board has committed to use by enshrining that decision in Bylaw. It’s been a long uph from the years I sat in the public seats as a teacher, and later at the table as the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association rep as 1st Vice President, thinking it was me who couldn’t keep up,  since I could not understand what was going on or how motions were dealt with and so quickly dismissed or disposed of. I had experience with Robert’s over many years at  provincial meetings of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation in rooms of hundreds of delegates where the BCTF  enforced Robert’s for clear process and to prevent chaos in debate. Why I thought the Chairs of the SD61 Board and Standing Committees knew some arcane rules that I didn’t, looking back, is beyond me.

When elected in 2012 as a Trustee on the Board I read 10 years of previous meeting minutes, Board and Standing Committees , after being told  they didn’t exist, then that they couldn’t be found, then that the boxes were too heavy to move and I wouldn’t be allowed  go to where they were – I had to suggest I’d bring a freedom of information request against my own Board. I saw in approved minutes how Robert’s Rules were disregarded except when it suited the Chair to use poorly understood rediments. Process was made up on the spot – declaring motions the Chair didn’t like “out of order” was common. Motions the majority / Chairs didn’t like were not put on the agendas or left to waft into the void when meetings were ended without addressing them “because there was no time”. They just disappeared.

The Board at the time disregarded many of its own Bylaws. When it was suggested in 2012 that some Bylaws and Policies needed revision and changes, newly elected Trustees were told by long-time Trustees  that it woudl be asking too much of senior staff to do that, and that Trustees shoudl not get involved in Policy development as that had been given to senior administration by a previous Board. (It took three years of constant struggle against majority resistance to get Trustee Loring-Kuhanga’s question period request into Bylaw.)

I believe 2016 closes with general acknowledgement that this Bylaw of the Board  is in force, finally. It’s been a long struggle.

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.

And still, some continue to struggle with this principle of debate below, having got used to making personal attacks which were not called to order over the years. (You can imagine what in camera meetings, where the public could not see what was going on,  were like for the 2012 term – you have to imagine because I can’t tell you.)

Debate on the Question p 42 / p 43 RRO 11th Ed : “Speakers must address their remarks to the Chair. Debate must be confined to the merits of the pending question. ..and…should avoid injecting a personal tone into debate. …they must never attack or make any allusion to the motives of members.” // p 392: “The measure, not the member, is the subject of debate.”

About Diane McNally