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School board frustrated with education ministry following AGM address

B.C. school trustees held their Annual General Meeting recently, requesting the Ministry of Education to live up to its Memorandum of Understanding with the group.

PENTICTON - B.C. school trustees, including those on the Okanagan-Skaha School Board, want the Minister of Education to live up to its Memorandum of Understanding on Co-Governance with the trustees.

Board chair Linda Van Alphen said trustees from across the province expressed that sentiment at the recent Annual General Meeting.

Part of Deputy Minister of Education David Byng’s address to the  British Columbia School Trustees 2015 Annual General Meeting was a statement made that Bill 11 — the Education Amendment Act — was “meant to be minimally prescriptive because the government does not know a trustees’ job better than they do."

After spending Saturday, April 18 contemplating 32 motions, the trustees came to the conclusion the bill was anything but minimally prescriptive, or the government really felt trustees knew their job better than they did, Van Alphen reported.

Boards of education across the province “gave clear directions" to the B.C. School Trustee Association’s executive to request the province withdraw several sections of the bill that override the authority of elected boards of education.

“Trustees are frustrated that our Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education seems to be ignored in this legislation,” Van Alphen said in an email.

She says B.C. trustees believe Bill 11 gives new authority to the minister to issue administrative directives, which she said could result in the Minister of Education issuing directives if the minister believes boards of education are not meeting targets as set out in their achievement contracts.

Trustees also object to an amended special advisor provision, which Van Alphen said could result in special advisors being appointed by the minister if it was felt trustees were not fulfilling their mandate.

A further amendment that would see shared service providers designated by the Minister of Education didn’t sit well with the trustees. Van Alphen said the significance of designating shared service providers is traditionally it is something School District 67 has always had the ability to do on their own, usually within the district’s region.

The boards also asked the Minister of Education to give trustees the courtesy and opportunity to make recommendations prior to contemplating further legislative changes, Van Alphen said.

Trustees also asked the ministry to work with trustees to address changes to the School Act that supported individual school boards in meeting the challenges of 21st century learning.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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