Dear Mr. Strahl
I just had to write to you about the change in process for the Criminal Record Check that has very recently been introduced by Ottawa. Because my husband is in the field of community support, he needs to get a Criminal Records check prior to being hired. He is currently out of work but has been offered a job, pending the usual Criminal Records check. He went into the RCMP yesterday and completed the paperwork, only to get a call today to say that as somone who has committed a crime has the same birthdate as him, he has to come in and get fingerprinted in order for them to provide this report to his future employer. When he went in today, he was told that this could take as long as eight weeks.
I am sure that you can understand that if an employer has a current hiring need, not many employers would be willing to wait for eight weeks for a potential employee. This new process could jeopardise his new job and this is ridiculous. It is not always easy to secure employment, especially in this current economic climate, and to have this additional hurdle thrown into the mix is disastrous. This change seriously impacts people’s livelihood. He was told that this change is because someone who has committed an offence could change their name so anyone with the same birthdate has to be fingerprinted (each time they apply for a Criminal Records Check!!). Surely
the onus should be on the person changing their name in the first place to prove that they are actually who they are, not the poor person needing a Criminal Record check for employment purposes. I hope you can understand our distress and I would be interested to hear your comments on this situation.
I believe this change will negatively impact other job seekers and I think this issue needs to be addressed.
I take issue with the Recommendations from School District #74 as the result of the Community Consultation that took place in Ashcroft on Nov. 16. I attended that meeting and took part in the three information/discussion groups that were offered by staff. I do not feel that the information the community was given in the invitation to attend gave us a clue of the gravity of the situation and that any informal discussion items could result in staff thinking and reporting that anyone in our community is in favour of closing Ashcroft Elementary School and amalgamating K-12 at Ashcroft Secondary.
School District #74 Policy #2-100 “recognizes the need to establish a consultation process when potential Board decisions significantly impact access to education services.” Further, the policy requirements are to
a. Ensure stated objectives are clear in advance and inform participants how the information is to be factored into the final decision,
b. Occur early enough in the process,
c. Maximize participation by those affected by the outcome.
I can also report after faithfully attending the Education Committee meetings as Ashcroft Village Council liaison to the School District #74, I was as shocked as the general public of the recommendations as the possibility of closure/restructuring was not a topic of discussion at those meetings.
It is my perception that this decision did not come as a direct result of the consultation process, but comes from the possibility of future cuts in the funding protection that the Ministry of Education has provided for areas with declining enrolments. Once again, hard-hit rural areas are asked to step up and make cuts, while the bureaucracy continues to spend. I would like to know the level of cuts that have been made in the Education Bureaucracy in the metropolitan urban centres. I would ask what percentage of the total Provincial Education budget is spent on actual classoom related services?
As many indicated at the consultation meeting, our schools are the heart of our community. I urge all citizens in the areas affected to let the Ministry of Education, their MLA, their School Trustee and the Board of Education know their feelings about the proposed recommendations regarding our schools.
Alice Durksen, Councillor
Village of Ashcroft
The AES PAC would like to invite all parents to an important PAC meeting on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 6:30pm in the AES library. Ashcroft’s Trustee Christopher Roden will be joining us.
In November our School District held Community Consultations in each of their communities as a forum for the district to share the information gathered about each of the schools and receive feedback from local parents and students. The feedback gathered was used to create a document called “A Vision for a Sustainable and Equitable Future for All” that is posted on the SD 74 website (www.sd74.bc.ca).
This document has recommendations our Superintendent believes would benefit our district.
One of the recommendations is to close AES and merge our students into Ashcroft Secondary School (making a preschool + K-12). Our Trustees have until the open board meeting on Feb. 22 to decide whether to support or decline this recommendation. If the majority approve it, a 60 day community consultation process will commence before the final decision on closure is made.
Trustee Roden represents Ashcroft and his voice is meant to be a reflection of ours. As he has one of the seven votes that will decide what course our district takes, it is important that he is made aware of our thoughts and concerns.
Trustee Roden will be attending our upcoming PAC meeting, looking for as much feedback from as many parents as possible before he votes on the recommendation at the Feb. 22 meeting. This may be the only open forum to connect with him prior to that meeting.
Please spread the word. If people have something to say about the proposed closure (and who doesn’t?), this is our first opportunity to voice our thoughts to someone who can share this information with the other Trustees and ultimately decide the fate of AES.
There will be tea and goodies provided, as well as free babysitting.
AES PAC Chair