The K-12 public education landscape in SD61 today is complex with many factors and issues to consider.
Please let me know what you see as priorities. Contact me at McnallyTrustee@gmail.com, Facebook at Diane McNally SD61 Greater Victoria School Trustee, and Twitter at @McNallySD61BC.
I’m asking for your support to continue to work on your behalf and on behalf of students and their parents in the six municipalities and two First Nations included in School District 61 Greater Victoria. I have set up a Go Fund Me Re-Elect Diane SD61 School Board for donations to my campaign for election to a third term on the SD61 Board of Education.
It’s always awkward to ask for money, but there it is. New BC campaign rules stipulate that a candidate can only contribute $2,400 to their own campaign, and that will not cover expenses. “The political contribution tax credit is for individuals who make eligible contributions to registered B.C. political parties, registered B.C. constituency associations or candidates for an election to the Legislative Assembly of B.C.”
I have published a record of every motion, carried or defeated with highlights of debate and links to important background information here since 2012. I will continue to provide this accountability.
In my first term I achieved an important accountability change: I established recoding of Trustee votes at Board and Standing committee meetings in minutes so voters can determine if Trustee votes align with their stated values and with those of voters.
My motion in my first term to bring a Student Trustee to the table resulted in student presence and engagement in debate on policy and other discussions at Standing Committee and Board meetings. We owe our students that. I intend to work to provide much more opportunity for students to tell Trustees what they think, and what their priorities are. Recent dialogues with students make it clear that mental health and access to counseling support in schools is a priority for students.
I have insisted on adherence to Robert’s Rules for clear, civil and accountable process. I ensured that Trustees can challenge a Chair’s ruling and have that ruling reviewed in the meeting before debate proceeds. Clear process is now established in Board culture.
Recently, my motion resulted in the development of the first (draft) SD761 Animals in Classrooms Policy, emphasizing empathy and compassion as critical learnings for students.
My election issues
I plan to meet with Chief Edward Thomas of the Esquimalt Nation and Chief Ron Sam of the Songhees Nation over the summer to ask to hear their concerns and suggestions for improving the Indigenous student graduation rates, and anything else they may wish to help me understand in terms of what I need to know and actions they want to see that will positively impact students off and on reserve. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission brought forward 94 Calls to Action. The BC Ministry of Education has made some progress, outlined in a short report.
I continue to advocate for an actual completely provincially funded free no fee universally accessible public education. I expect more than just “adequate” funding of public education, the public good that shapes our future. Private funding through a Foundation may seem appealing and is certainly expedient, but growing dependent on private funders is clearly a danger. School District 61 is a registered charity, and Policies allow donations to the District and to individual schools, the latter obviously in opposition to the overarching principle of equity that is prominent in School District 61’s strategic plan. For public education in British Columbia to be considered a charity is not good enough for a Province and District that values its children and youth.
Past and present Boards of School District 61 have supported creation of and maintenance of competitive entry sports Academies, each with a $1000 fee per student for entry. Every middle school and secondary school has excellent sports programs taught by accredited teachers. Academies are a soft slide to privatization – the coaches are often private contractors, paid by your education taxes.
The new funding formula that the Ministry will present this winter may or may not be a wonderful thing for students with special needs (now “diverse learners”) and their parents. Services for children with exceptional needs for support and the staffing levels that will ensure this will need close watching and advocacy at the Board level, along with an expectation of visible accountability measures for student outcomes. This is a significant equity issue and as a former teacher of students with special needs for support, this issue commands my attention.
Students designated “gifted and talented” continue to have special education class options in competitive entry district Challenge programs. Challenge program students re generally articulate about why they value this separate special education program. Listening to students and parents tell us what is truly the most enabling environment for students will be critical as the District moves forward with implementing the District Strategic Plan.
Budget decisions that address requirements for staffing levels as a result of the BCTF court case win will need close attention as staffing level issues remain for teachers and education assistants. I support decisions that bring more work in house and that move to end contracting out of CUPE 382 (Facilities) workers.
As Trustees we clearly need to improve our outreach to parents. I intend to find ways to provide many more opportunities for mutual dialogue.
What part should Boards of Education play in Early Childhood Education staffing and programing, and provision of space? I believe Board involvement with appropriate funding from the Province, is essential.
Strengthening community non profit partnerships with education can improve student access to learning opportunities in their community, including opportunities in the Arts.
Extending and deepening municipal partnerships and communication is essential and underway.
Community schools are an idea whose time has come again. They need to be revitalized and revived.
It’s clear that evidence based substance use education is needed in high schools and middle schools, and increased coordination among the Lower Island districts is critical as is provision of information and support for parents.
I offer you a thoughtful approach to decision making about public education and student opportunities for success that is characterized by critical thinking and deep analysis of issues, integrity, independence, and caring. I have lived a lifetime commitment to public education, as a student in public schools in Canada and the US, and then beginning my 34 + year career in education at age 18 in Alberta after two years at U of A Edmonton. I have been proud to be a member during that career of the ATA, CUPE, GVTA/ BCTF.
- Ed, MBA, Diploma French language and Literature
- Defending free universal public education: a public good
- Valuing educated citizens and responsible choices
- Your child’s education is not a sound bite
- How can I help you navigate “the system”?
Committee / Community Work:
- BCSTA Bylaw Revision Committee
- SD61 Public Engagement Committee
- SD61 Advocacy Committee
- SD61 Board representative to the CRD Board
- SD61 Board representative to the Our Place Therapeutic Recovery View Royal Community Advisory Committee
- Citizen participant in community harm reduction organizations
- Strata council president 10 years
- BCSPCA Wild ARC Council 3 years (former)
- BC SPCA Victoria Branch Community Council Chair 3 years (former)
- Early Music Society of the Islands Board member (former)