December 18/17: Board Meeting: Dress Code Agreement Hijacked; SD61 DPAC Complaints Again

Territory Acknowledgement900

Agenda adopted. [Video of all Board meetings here.] Minutes November 27/17 approved (here).  Lined Paper record here.  No Business Arising from minutes. No Student Achievement presentation, no District Presentations from SD61 staff.

A.6 Community Presentations 

a) Jason Gammon, President, GVTA : GVTA, BCTF 100 Year Anniversary

In the BCTF mural, the central figure is an Aboriginal woman who holds a cedar bough in her left hand. Her arms are wide open to embrace two other teacher figures who form the focal point of the scene. “She is the Mother Earth figure who welcomes and protects us, who holds us together as one,” Nora said. At the top of the frame are images of activism: teachers with their umbrellas protesting at the BC Legislature, others with their picket signs. Rooting the frame are images of teaching and learning: a band leader with his baton and children singing, teachers reading together, students of diverse ethnicities at a computer, children playing ball. Another key figure is a judge of the BC Supreme Court, with the scales of justice, symbolizing the successful courtroom battles BCTF members have waged to assert their rights.

bctf mural_

b) Audrey Smith, Chair, SD61 DPAC (aka VCPAC)

  • [Smith said in this presentation that  the SD61 DPAC Bylaws allow referral to the Chair as the “President”. 8 pages in Constitution and Bylaws; nothing about this there. So, “Chair”.
  • Smith has also said on public record in the Times Colonist that no  official DPAC rep had been consulted re the dress code issue when Smith herself was present at many meetings of the Standing Committees, Ad Hoc Committee, and Board meetings where this issue was discussed over many months (when I asked about Smith’s statement and the quote’s accuracy in the article by Jeff Bell, TC education reporter,  the Times Colonist was surprised and investigated, and following investigation, did not retract their account).
  • Said that DPAC had not voted to support a recent recommendation coming out of the One Learning Community Ad Hoc Committee when she herself did vote to support the recommendation and was observed to have done so by all those present, including me.
  • SD61 DPAC has managed to fill only 5 of 12 possible Executive positions.  SD61 DPAC meetings most often do not meet quorum requirements so no business can be conducted, ie no votes.Yet these few individuals continually claim to be *the* voice of parents in SD61.

Smith did not present hard copy of her speech, but said [this is only one of many  times DPAC / VCPAC has taken this victim stance over the last few years]:

  • Marketa Lund [1 of  3 Directors] will think twice about coming to this table [as DCPAC rep] because of the conduct of this Board. [Watch the video record yourself and see if you note anything untoward. Board meetings are political meetings of elected officials, and discussions of issues can be intense. Smith in the past has characterized Board process as “abusive”  (“Since attending board meetings is not effective and has often been abusive, we have decided to step away for a time. We remain aware of the items on their agenda and will advise the board when we see the need. Much of our work is done away from the Board room. We are happy to take a break from the politics”) and refused to attend for some time. Some people seem to  regard “politics” as some nasty infection to be got rid of, when it is simply the processes of citizen-elected civic governance. “Politics” is unavoidable in elected assemblies – School Boards, city councils, Provincial  Legislature... School board meetings aren’t kindergarten classes.]
  • It’s unfair to criticize SD61 DPAC [“VCPAC”] as we are volunteers. [?]
  • It is a disservice to question DPAC (VCPAC) process. [Why? DPAC process is not sacrosanct. DPAC can derail any issue for 3 months due to the cumbersome way of dealing with issues that seems to be ignorant of the possibilities of online communication. It’s been clear for years that the process needs an overhaul, and serves no one but the DPAC Executive. As well, the Board listens to official-sounding speeches from the Chair – of an organization that can’t get quorum, yet the Chair implies presenting on behalf of all parents in SD61.]
  • Succession planning is always on DPAC’s mind. [It’s on everyone’s mind.]
  • Individual parents are not given the right to advise the Board. [Many parents may be deeply surprised by this. As well, it is complete nonsense, and amounts to attempted censorship and silencing of individual parents. Nothing in the School Act precludes any parent from presenting  an opinion to the Board, in email, in a Standing Committee presentation, or in a presentation to the Board. ]

No Correspondence.  [Not to say we didn’t get emails. Mostly about dress code. And mostly in favour of the Human Rights Code version.]

C. Trustee Reports:  New Chairs of standing committees elected: Education Policy and Directions: Nohr. Operations Policy and Planning: Watters.  Watters and McNally presented  reports.  (Watters p 11 agenda)

December 2017 Trustee Report
Diane McNally, Trustee, SD61 Greater Victoria Board of Education

Saanich Arts, Culture and Heritage  : No longer attending as no apparent relevance for SD61 Board or SD61 students. See agendas here.

Choices / Yates St Transitional Shelters:  November 28 attended Choices Transitional Home regular meeting. Staff, community members / public. Winding down though not everyone out by (correction: March) as BC Housing project is somewhat behind timeline.

BCSTA:  BCSTA Bylaw Review Committee will meet again by teleconference January 12. (Committee a result of SD61 motion that carried at April 2017 BCSTA AGM).

Schools November 29 George Jay PAC; December 13 James Bay Community School PAc; planned: Gift wrapping at George Jay Emporium December 20; Rockheights and Campus View concerts

Public Engagement Committee / ad hoc committees :  December 7 Public Engagement Ad Hoc Committee

Aboriginal Nations Education Committee : Next meeting January

Trustee Professional Development: Ongoing: ANED reading  list:   Indian Residential Schools & Reconciliation Teacher Resource Book 2 11/12 (FNESC, FNSA 2015) (continuing) /  National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Interim Report November 1, 2017 119 pp

D. Board Committee Reports

Operations Policy and Planning Voting members: Jordan Watters, Diane McNally, Elaine Leonard and Rob Paynter (Loring Kuhanga ex officio)
Education Policy and Directions Voting members: Ann Whiteaker, Deborah Nohr, Tom Ferris, and Peg Orcherton (Loring-Kuhanga ex officio)

D.1 Ed Policy and Directions: Minutes December 4 info only (will be corrected if needed or approved as is, at January Ed Policy meeting). Lined Paper report here.  3 recommended motions (recommended because they carried at the last Ed policy meeting so came forward to the Board – an individual Trustee can bring a motion that is defeated at a Standing Committee forward to the Board, but it would not be “recommended”). Loring-Kuhanga requested “i.” be severed for discussion.

i. That the Board directs [sic ]  the Superintendent to convene a working group  which includes VCPAC, VPVPA , GVTA, CUPE, ASA, Aboriginal Nations Council [Aboriginal Nations Education Council? The Aboriginal Nations Education Council (ANEC) includes members of Aboriginal communities, organizations, families, Elders and students who provide perspectives from a variety of backgrounds, as well as reps from SD61 – administrators, teachers and Aboriginal Nations Education Division (ANED) staff, and a trustee) chaired by Janice Simcoe of Camosun College. Or ANED? Or local Nations Songhees and Esquimalt?] and Student Representatives, to create administrative procedures that support the values and beliefs of the District with regard to dress, and also to review Recommendation #1 contained in the Guiding Principles memo of December 4, 2017 regarding dress. / Defeated. Unanimous. (Debate below; new motion carried.

Principle #1: Our School is committed to creating a learning community that values diversity and is free of all forms of discrimination. In line with the BC Human Rights Code which prohibits discrimination on the basis of an individual’s: race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and age, promotes a climate of understanding and mutual respect where all are equal in dignity and rights. Actions through verbal or nonverbal communication (including clothing) must not contravene the BC Human Rights Code.

  • Watters: Improper motion. See p 343 Robert’s Rules of Order “Improper Motions”. [Startlingly, Watters’ valid  point re Robert’s Rules got zero traction with the Vice Chair who was in the Chair as Loring-Kuhanga is in Tanzania for 2 months, but present by speaker phone].
  • Loring-Kuhanga: Amendment: Board direct Superintendent to draft a dress code Policy and Regulations that  are not in conflict with the BC Human Rights code. Urge vote against current motion and will bring forward this “amendment” as a new motion. [It is substantively different from the motion on the floor so isn’t an amendment.] Consultation has taken place with all stakeholders over the last year. 
  • Orcherton: Meeting in October and the subsequent Ed Policy meeting resulted in confusion. [Some people seems “confused” since the DPAC Chair claimed not to have voted in favour of the recommendation that she did vote  in favour of – see TC article linked above.] We haven’t finished consultation.Have been advised by a stakeholder group [obviously VCPAC / SD61 DPAC]  that consultation is not finished. [How will the Board know when consultation is finished?  Others involved observe that consultatio is indeed finished. ] It came up in the October Ed Policy meeting that they haven’t been heard and we need to keep going until they are heard. [Being “heard” doesn’t mean you get your way. ]
  • Superintendent: The entire process has been interesting; has deviated from usual process. Typically the Board asks for a Policy and Regulations draft, and that goes out for broad feedback, to the entire system, which is what has already happened. Difficult to make informed  comment about what is being contemplated without something concrete to discuss. 
  • Nohr: Agree with Orcherton. DPAC has made it clear that they have not addressed this issue in a full way. [They’ve had more than a year to do that, and have been represented by the DPAC Chair at most meetings over that time. So what else is need for “full address”?  DPAC meetings for years have almost never got quorum, so it’s not clear that full address” would *ever* occur.] Two very different points of view on this. Can’t find minutes from One Learning Committee on the SD61 website. Are there any summary notes into the perspectives of ASA, Aboriginal, students, unions?
  • Superintendent: One Learning Community Committee meetings held several conversations that encompassed all stakeholder groups.Discussions were robust. The Committee *did* have representation  from DPAC / VCPAC and others and talked about guiding principles to move forward on. Change was made to the principle to state not “support the  HRC” but “not contravene”. [Made by McNally, in the meeting, supported by all present.] Agreed on that. Discussion was that administrative procedures and guidelines would be discussed and the Guiding Principles would stand.VCPAC wanted to discuss Regulations / administrative procedures. VCPAC [Smith, the Chair, present and voted at the meeting] agreed on the Guiding Principles. Next concrete step is to take the broad idea and put it into draft Policy and Regulations.
  • Ferris: Agree with Orcherton. Need to continue to consult. But need a more straightforward motion so we have something to discuss. Won’t support the existing motion.
  • Watters: Current motion circumvents the current process. This Standing Committee has already got the recommendation from the Ad Hoc Committee. 12 public meetings were held, 8 presentations were made to the Board; Trustees received 45 letters on the subject.
  • Leonard: Agree with Superintendent. Better use of everyone’s time to have a substantive discussion.
  • Vote: Original motion defeated.
  • Loring-Kuhanga: Moved: Direct the Superintendent to draft dress code Policy and Regulations that comply with all legislation, and bring back to Board for discussion. And involve all stakeholder groups and One Learning Community Committee.
  • Paynter: Amend: Delete the legislation part. All Policy has to comply with legislation/ Carried unanimously. / Carried. Unanimous.
  • Loring-Kuhanga: Moved: Direct the Superintendent to draft dress code Policy and Regulations, and bring back to Board for discussion. / Carried. Unanimous.

ii. That the Board direct the Policy Subcommittee to review and revise as necessary Policy and Regulation 1421 Naming School Sites and provide recommendations to the Education Policy and Directions Committee on potential changes and that the Board place a moratorium on the naming of schools until the review has occurred./ Carried. Unanimous.

iii. That the Board direct the Superintendent to create Policy on how the Board, under District presentations on a regular Board Meeting agenda, recognizes individuals who make significant contributions to the District. / Carried. Unanimous.

D.2 Operations Policy and Planning : 6 recommended motions. All carried unanimously as a group. 

i. Revised Regulation 8230 Trustee Remuneration and expenses – information.
ii. Approve Policy 5118.2 Student Enrolment and Transfers and accept associated Regulation as info.
iii. Approve revised Policy 6114 Maintenance of Order and associated Regulations for for info.
iv. Approve revised Policy 3110 Presentation of New Educational Programs and accept associated Regulation.
v. That the Board direct the Superintendent to ensure that effective January 2018, all Ad Hoc Committees of the Board are listed o the District’s website along with the Committee’s Chair, Chair’s contact info, future meeting dates of Ad Hoc committees open to the public, meeting reports and the TOR for each committee.
vi. That the Board dissolve the Policy 1325 Partnership and Attachment Ad Hoc Committee.

Superintendent’s Report on p. 51 of agenda.

E.1 b  Trustee Questions

  • Nohr: TTOC / on call numbers – was a day when 18 TTOCs were needed and not found. // Superintendent: 715 on the ist. 263 in some kind of contract, various FTEs [full time equivalents, ie .5 FTE is half time]. 452 nt in contracts, 251 have worked since November 2017. 21 postings for the remedy  = 10.812 FTE. Remaining numbers for utilization in part time contract holders in schools and TTOC callouts.

Secretary-Treasurer’s Report p. 53.
Water Quality update Pp. 54-60: ” A preliminary estimate for the replacement of the water fountains suggest that we may be looking at up to 350 older fountains at an average installed cost of $1000 each. This is a significant budgetary funding issue, which staff will pursue funding for under the Ministry of Education SEP Capital funding envelope [see p. 25 here]. The immediate high priority replacements will be addressed through current year AFG [here ]  funding.

No Public Disclosure of  items from the In Camera meeting. [Majority vote  in the in camera meeting needed to disclose.]

H. New Business / Notice of Motions: No new business (new motions for this meeting to consider). No Notices of Motion for future meeting agendas. Whiteaker reminded re deadline for BCSTA motions January 12. AGM is mid February. Have to submit in advance if carried by committee and withdraw if not approved by Board vote.

I. Adjournment : 8:45 pm

About Diane McNally