Any perceived errors, please quote the error and provide correction with citation / source.
School Act Part 6 — Boards of Education Division 1 — Corporate Status and Meetings: Meetings and chair : 67 (5.1) Without limiting subsection (5), a board may establish procedures respecting the provision of advice by a district parents’ advisory council to the board.
DPAC / VCPAC is an organization referred to in the School Act as “a” voice of parents, not “the only” voice of parents.
Looking at the SD61 DPAC Constitution :
- Executive meetings held at discretion of Executive, minimally 5 annually. Quorum is majority of Executive members [possible 12 elected officers of VCPAC; currently less than half that: 5 Executive members listed , so quorum 3, majority vote 2] .
- Executive members of VCPAC: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary-Treasurer, 5 Directors, up to 3 additional Directors, if approved at an AGM. The Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer only may not hold the same position for more than 4 consecutive terms. The Executive will process its decisions by making recommendations by notice of motion to the General Meeting for approval with the exception of time sensitive issues.
With Executive quorum being 3, a majority of that quorum = 2 votes. It’s possible 2 votes could be seen to represent the voice of all parents of the 20,000 students in SD61, on “time sensitive issues”.
The VCPAC Chair often states that VCPAC has not been consulted, or consulted enough. It’s difficult to know when “consultation” is finished when this DPAC seldom gets quorum so cannot provide an “official” stance backed up by a motion carried at a DPAC meeting, on much of anything . Statements at the Board table purporting to be positions of this DPAC thus appear to be the opinions of one person.
The VCPAC internal consultation process is cumbersome and needs review, as any referral to VCPAC guarantees at least three months of limbo for an issue.
PAC & DPAC Grants
“Parent Advisory Council and District Parent Advisory Council (PAC and DPAC) grants are intended to benefit K-12 students in British Columbia through enhancement of extracurricular opportunities and community involvement. This page includes information about these grants, including: eligibility, grant amounts, application periods, how to apply, online application resources (tutorials, tips, FAQs, etc.) and more.”
Some DPACS get zero funding from their School District / Board. Some do get funding. SD61 DPAC aka VCPAC is funded, about $10,000 from SD61 annually.
How DPACS Work ( each one in BC has its own Constitution; each PAC in a School District has a Constitution)
School Act, British Columbia: 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 [a council in each school] 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.
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. [Does this say no other parents may? No.] 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.
[Much of any District Parent Advisory Council Constitution content is set as requirement in the School Act ]:
VCPAC / SD61 DPAC : ARTICLE VIII. CONSTITUTIONAL and BYLAW AMENDMENTS
1.The Constitution and Bylaws of VCPAC may be amended only by a Special Resolution passed by at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the members [member = one rep per school PAC] present at any General Meeting, given that Notice of the proposed amendments has been provided to the membership at least twenty eight (28) days prior to the meeting at which they are to be considered.
A “member” for voting purposes is a school Parents’ Advisory Council, [which sends an individual representative], not the individual representative, or individual parents who show up at the meeting . [42 schools listed on SD61 front page.]
Each school based PAC within SD61 is considered as a single voting member unless the has waived membership in writing. [ But the rep has to show up – most don’t, so there is almost never quorum at SD61 DPAC meetings.]
General Meetings monthly from September-May except December, unless otherwise determined by membership [ = 1 vote per PAC that attends].
Quorum for General Meetings is 1/3 current membership [1/3 x 42 = 14 schools, assuming no one has got around to opting out in writing , so 8 votes = majority in a General Meeting. An individual may be a delegate for more than one school and therefore carry more than one vote. ] Each PAC will elect a delegate to be their representative at VCPAC.
Additional General Meetings may be called at the discretion of the Executive. An Additional Meeting will be called by the Executive within seven days of receiving a request by petition representing ten percent (10%) of the membership (10% of member PACs).
All decisions relating to official VCPAC positions on educational issues must be approved by Special Resolution [a resolution passed in general meeting by a majority of not less than 75% of the votes of those delegates. 75% x 14 = 10.5 = 11] Voting by show of hands [of single delegates from PACs] with exception of election of Executive members done by secret ballot. No proxy votes.
Officers of VCPAC 2017-18 (5 positions filled out of the 12 possible )
Chair (at some point morphed into “President”): Audrey Smith[term 3 of possible 4]
Secretary: Swati Scott
5 Directors: Marketa Lund, Val Montegue, Jodi Whiteman, vacant, vacant
Additional directors, if approved at an AGM (up to three (3) positions: vacant, vacant, vacant
2017-18 school year meeting minutes here. Quorum seldom if ever achieved over several past years – no quorum = no official business can be conducted or reported out.
BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils / BCCPAC
BCCPAC’s existence is not mandated as part of the BC School Act,though a 1998 Resolution attempting to change that is active. Constitution and Bylaws here. BCCPAC website states “We represent a membership of the Parent Advisory Councils(PACs), and District Parent Advisory Councils (DPACs) of the BC school districts.”
BCCPAC Resolutions here. There are 200+ Resolutions ongoing, achieved or pending. Worth a look. Chose “any” to see all of them, though you can narrow down by category in the dropdown menu. Here’s an interesting one from 1994 still on the books:
“That students have the opportunity to be taught the most commonly held theories on the origins of our universe and life on our planet, or at least be given a list of resources to explore these on their own; And that students be encouraged to discuss the pros and cons of these theories without being criticized for their opinions, in order to promote critical thinking skills;And that students be taught evolution as theory, not fact. ” Status: Active.
BCCPAC History: On September 8, 1915, the first official parent organization was launched at the oldest school in the province, Craigflower, then on the outskirts of Victoria.