The British Columbia School Trustees Association Annual General Meeting was held in Richmond on Musqueam Traditional Territory, April 26-29.
On April 27th, 2018, students from the four Nisga’a Villages performed at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) in Vancouver, BC. Out of 10 applications they were the selected group! Students from grades 5 – 7 were selected from the four elementary schools: Nisg̱a’a Elementary, Gitwinksihlkw Elementary, Alvin A. McKay Elementary and Nathan Barton Elementary to represent the district and Nisg̱a’a Nation in singing, dancing, and drumming while performing traditional Nisg̱a’a songs and dances.
I attended the business meeting only , April 28.
Resolution E.4 below failed again, but it was encouraging to see 66.5% support this year. This is an “Extraordinary Motion” and as such requires 3/4 support in a vote. Trustee Whiteaker did the background research to support the motion which was originally brought to the SD61 Board table by McNally. Trustee Whiteaker presented the resolution at the 2017 AGM; it failed with significant opposition and remarks about “the wring time” and “hurting the relationship with the Minister”. (This is not personal; it’s political process. SD61 Board colleagues have spoken to the Minister in face to face discussion.) The Pan-Canadian Study of School District Governance (Canadian School Boards Association, 2013) states “… it is essential that school boards maintain their relative autonomy from government in their decision-making (p15)”. Trustee McNally presented at the 2018 AGM. Roberet’s Rules states that a motion can come back to the table at future sessions, so I plan to take this to the 2019 AGM, hoping for 75% support (if I am re-elected on the civic ballot October 20!)
Rationale: This motion strengthens the status of the BCSTA as an organization independent of the Minister of Education regardless of provincial government governing party, and aligns BCSTA’s bylaws with the intent and content of the Co-Governance Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU states “This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is intended to define the working relationship between the Ministry of Education and the British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA) as the representative voice of its member Boards of Education”, and “The parties commit to clear division of responsibilities so that the Province and local Boards of Education can effectively perform their roles “. Clearly, two separate parties with differing responsibilities are identified.
The Ministry of Education through the School Act sets out its governance role in regard to Boards of education. The Ministry of Education does not directly govern BCSTA.
The title “Honorary” as indicated in Bylaw 1c “Honorary Life Membership” gives the BCSTA membership the opportunity to honor an individual for distinguished service. This is not attached to any Office, internal or external.Striking “Honorary President” from Bylaw 2 will return to the membership the possibility of a democratically decided decision to bestow the title “Honorary” for distinguished service. The “honor” will cease to be simply a reflection of a provincial government appointed cabinet position.
As well, the title is to be conferred for “distinguished service within the organization”:
“1c Honorary Life Membership : The Association may honor any person for distinguished service within the Association by conferring on such person honorary life membership in the Association by extraordinary resolution in accordance with the provisions of Article 21.”
The history of this Bylaw has seen the Honorary President Officer position evolve from non-existent, to status as a membership-elected position in 1909, and finally, to an automatic title given to Ministers of Education in 1981. BCSTA cannot locate records of the rationale for the motion which led to latter change.
In 1905 the BCSTA held its 1st Annual Convention. There was no Officer position held for an Honorary President: “…officers to be elected annually and to consist of a President, a Vice-President, and a Secretary-Treasurer”. By 1909, at the 6th Annual BCSTA Convention, Vice President and Honorary President were added to the list of Officers, but the Honorary President was elected by the membership. As it happened, the first Honorary President elected was the Minister of Education at that time, H. E. Young. (
At a general meting prior to 1981 the Honorary President title became an automatically conferred “honor” on the Minster of Education: “Bylaw 2: The officers of the Association shall be: honorary president who shall be the Minister of Education, president, vice-president, two directors, the immediate past president, and the executive director, who shall be secretary and treasurer of the Association, all of whom except the honorary president, the executive director, and the immediate past president shall be elected annually at the general meeting…”. No rationale for the bylaw amendment motion can be found for this change.
Resolution 8, below, was brought by the Vancouver Island School Trustees Association Branch (VISTA). Trustee Barry Kurland (SD69 Qualicum) made a memorable speech in support. A significant number of votes in opposition.
Resolution 18 was originally brought to the SD61 Board table by Trustee Watters. See
- “Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Youth: A Fact Sheet”
- It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence
- Taking Action to End Violence Against Young Women and Girls in Canada
Resolution 22 originally brought to SD61 table by Trustee Watters.
- International technical guidance on sexuality education : An evidence-informed approach (UNESCO)
The truth is that the Ministry of Education had an opportunity to update a nearly 10-year-old set of vague and general learning outcomes and they missed it. They had the chance to follow Ontario’s lead by expanding the existing curriculum to include topics such as consent, pleasure, gender and sexuality and pornography and tailor it to the current social issues facing today’s students. Sites like Facebook and YouPorn were in their infancies in 2006 (the last curriculum review) and apps like Instagram and tinder did not even exist. “While the vague curriculum guidelines allow for creativity in the classroom, sex-ed needs more help. Students are absorbing sexual content in rapid fire via snapchat and sexting. We need more specific learning outcomes to address the needs of our iPhone equipped learners,” adds Fischer.
- Gender expression, sexual health, and the new curriculum (BCTF Teacher Magazine, Vol 28, Number 2, Nov / Dec 2015)
Consent discussion missing from BC curriculum: sexual education contractor (News 1130, June 8, 2016)
Resolution 28 originally brought to the SD61 Board table by Trustee McNally.
- White Paper: Call for Standards of Practice for Education Assistants in B.C. (Prepared by Nancy Hoyano, Education Assistant Program, Langara College with the assistance of Sylvia Woodyard, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Diane Koch, Capilano University on behalf of the Community and School Support Sub-committee of the Post-Secondary Human Services Articulation Committee.June 2012)
Resolution 47 below was brought to the AGM by SD57 Price George, but is worth close consideration so highlighted here. The motion carried , but narrowly. I was pleased to speak in favour.
- The appropriate time needs to be taken to address the complexities and challenges of the issues and factors shared across the Province during the funding model review.
- An additional year would allow time to ensure any additional consultation and feedback has been provided by all involved.
- 2018 has the additional complexity of the October trustee elections. 2019 has the complexity of bargaining for teachers and support staff.
- It is possible there may be a turnover of up to 40% of trustees following the October 2018 elections. It would be challenging to implement a new funding model at the same time as orienting new trustees to their governance responsibilities.
- Although it is expected that any collectively bargained wages and improvements to benefits would be fully funded, it would be unwise to implement a new funding model when over 76% of a school district’s operating and special purpose expenses are subject to current collective bargaining.
- This motion should be considered as it deals with matters arising from events occurring subsequent to the sixty day deadline for submission of motions to the general meeting.
- The importance of providing an appropriate time-line for consultation and the development of any changes to the funding model and implementation of changes is critical.
Complete Disposition of Motions: