Concern over District policies

A writer questions two School District No. 74 policies.

Dear Editor,

I would like to discuss two School District No. 74 policies which concern me. The first is already in place and is found in the district policy book under Policy 1.60: “Policy development, adoption, review, revision and deletion”. This Policy states that “The Board’s governance policies provide effective direction and guidelines for the action of the Board, Superintendent, Secretary Treasurer, staff, students, electors and other agencies. Policies also serve as sources of information and guidelines to all who may be interested in or connected with the operation of the District. Adoption of new Board governance policies or revision of existing policies is solely the responsibility of the Board.

 

“The Board shall be guided in its approach to policy by ensuring adherence to the requirements necessary to provide public education and compliance with the School Act and provincial legislation. Further, while reserving unto itself the authority and responsibility to determine and adopt governance policies, the Board may encourage interested groups and individuals to provide feedback. . . .

“3. Adoption of Policy: ‘All governance will be considered at an open meeting. The Board may distribute a draft governance policy for public feedback prior to        adoption. Should this occur, the policy will be placed on the District website for a minimum of twenty-eight (28) days. To be adopted, a policy must be approved by a majority of the trustees present. . . .’”

Please note the “shalls” and “mays” in the above policy.

The second is Policy 9.80, “The naming of District Facilities”. It reads “The naming of schools and facilities is the responsibility of the Board and final choice for a name rests with the Board.

“Limitations and Constraints:

“A committee shall be appointed to act as a liaison between the school community and the Board in a naming process.

“The committee will be comprised of appropriate individuals as determined by the Superintendent and/or Secretary Treasure and may include the following:

– Appropriate local trustee(s) representatives

– FPEC representative(S) from local nation

– Parent Advisory Council representative(s)

– Principal(s)

– Teacher representatives

– CUPE representative

– Student representative

“The committee shall present a minimum of three potential names and a rationale to the Board.”

Policy 9.80 is presently up for consideration at the April 5 Board of Trustees meeting. It has not appeared on the Board’s website, as I was informed, because of the words “may distribute a draft governance policy” in Policy 1.60, which means that policies up for adoption appear only when the District staff and/or Board feel that it is in their interest. Please also note the words “may include” in the committee selection.

This appears to be another attempt by the Board to pass a policy without including the public. I would not have known anything about this policy, had it not appeared in The Journal. It is definitely not on the District website “Policies under Review” section.

Apparently this is the way the Board has chosen to represent us: by eliminating any input that the public might wish to impart in future name changes for schools and facilities within the district. It saddens me to see the District staff and Board of Trustees excluding the public until they are ready to decide on issues; and then only if someone happens to notice policies on the agenda of the monthly meeting will they come to the attention of the public.

Mike Baldwin

Ashcroft

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