Trustee Censure Policies: Wait, That’s Not Even Legal, But Do We Care?

While researching existing BC School District Policies on trustee codes of ethics and related censure policies,
I discovered that the BC School Trustees’ Association does not review Policies or require any standardization in regard to developed by Boards of Education.

Which makes it possible for  this interesting Policy to be on the books in SD74 (updated September 2019), implying that a Board of Education can use Robert’s Rules to effectively fire a Trustee. The BC School Act supersedes local Policy, but never mind that; the Board will  just say you’re no longer a member of the assembly [the Board of Education], prevent the trustee  from attending any meetings, and then  “fire” that trustee for not attending meetings.

Policy 1.10

11. section 61 of Robert’s Rules of Order states: “The Right of a Deliberative
Assembly to Punish its Members. A deliberative assembly has the inherent right
to make and enforce its own laws and punish an offender, the extreme penalty,
however, being expulsion from its own body. When expelled, if the assembly is a
permanent society, it has the right, for its own protection, to give public notice
that the person has ceased to be a member of that society; and,
12. section 61 of Robert’s Rules of Order states: “Right of an Assembly to Eject any one from its Place of Meeting. Every deliberative assembly has the right to
decide who may be present during its session; and when the assembly, either by
a rule or by a vote, decides that a certain person shall not remain in the room, it
is the duty of the chairman to enforce the rule of order, using whatever force is
necessary to eject the party.

How It Really Works: BC School Act

Disqualifications

33   Without limiting section 32 (1) (d), the following persons are disqualified from being nominated for, being elected to or holding office as a trustee:(a) a person who is disqualified under section 34 as an employee of a board, except as authorized under that section; (b) a person who is disqualified under (i) section 52 (1) [failure to make oath or affirmation of office], or (ii) section 52 (2) [unexcused absence from board meetings]; (b.1) a person who is disqualified under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act from holding office on a local authority; (c) a person who is disqualified from holding office under (i) Division 18 [Election Offences] of Part 3 of the Local Government Act as it applies under this Act, that Act or any other Act, or (ii) Division (17) of Part I of the Vancouver Charter, as it applies under this Act, that Act or any other Act; (d) a person who holds office as a regional trustee of a francophone education authority under Part 8.1.

Trustee disqualification from holding office

52   (1) If a person appointed or elected as a trustee does not make the oath required by section 50 within the time limit set by that section, the office to which that person was appointed or elected is deemed to be vacant and the person is disqualified from holding office as a trustee until the next general school election.

(2) If a trustee is continuously absent from board meetings for a period of 3 consecutive months, unless the absence is because of illness or with the leave of the board, the office of the member is deemed to be vacant and the person who held the office is disqualified from holding office as a trustee until the next general school election.

(3) If a person elected as a trustee is disqualified from holding office as referred to in section 33 (c), the office to which the person was elected is deemed to be vacant.

Removal of trustee following conviction for offence

53   (1) A trustee ceases to hold office on the 30th day following the date of any of the following: (a) the trustee’s conviction for an indictable offence; (b) the trustee’s conviction for an offence under section 163 (2); (c) a decision of the Supreme Court, on the application of an elector of the school district, that the conviction of the trustee for any other offence renders the trustee unsuitable to perform the duties of a trustee. (2) On the application of a trustee referred to in subsection (1), the Supreme Court may, by order, suspend the operation of that subsection for a period and on the terms the court considers appropriate.

Each school district in BC pays a significant fee to belong to the BCSTA. School District 61 Greater Victoria  pays about $70,000 annually to be a member of the BC School Trustees Association. That’s your money, paid into taxes to support and deliver public education (you pay for significant support for private schools, too) .

If you can find the BCSTA budget, please let me know. Because I can’t.

 

 

About Diane McNally