New Westminster School Board Meeting Tuesday, Novemeber 28

It is a fairly light agenda tomorrow, but with a few  important issues.

May Day

The first issue is a request from the city to work with the School Board on May Day with a “thorough community engagement process and allow for opportunities to explore all options to address the School District’s operational challenges surrounding this event.”  To accomplish this the Council has requested that the District continue with the “same format” for May Day in 2018. This request parallels the motion coming from the Education Committee,

THAT the Education Policy and Planning Committee recommend to the Board of Education that the school board invite the city to partner in the public consultation to determine the future observation of May Day and the recommendation from the School board May Day Task Force be forwarded to this process.

I certainly support the direction suggested by the City to allow for more time to the Board, Council and the community to explore the issues of May Day and examine all of the challenges that the School District staff have identified. We will be able to add to that with the results of our community survey.  I plan to move an amendment to the Education Committee motion that will read,

“and that the School District retain the current format for May Day in 2018 while we work with the City Council and the Community to more fully explore issues and options for the continuation of May Day.”

Student Trustee

The second issue tomorrow is the Student Trustee issue that Trustee Lalji raised. While most trustees were very supportive of the concept of a Student Trustee on the New Westminster School Board, the Committee was undecided on how to proceed and formally asked our Senior Administration for formal comments and I am hopeful that these comments from Senior Admin will present to the Board a blueprint for a formal engagement process with our students leading to a Student Trustee.

Portable at the Board Office

The District is in the process of putting a Portable at the Board office to provide more office and meeting space. To do this we must take play space away from the Fraser River Middle School. To me that is not a reasonable solution. 

I have a motion on Tuesday’s agenda to take a step back and rethink this decision, let’s plan ahead rather then moving piecemeal.

That the New Westminster Board of Education direct the Superintendent to postpone purchasing and deployment of the portable for the Board Office until there is a comprehensive plan in place, approved by the Board, for the placement of non-enrolling district staff.

Author: Michael Ewen

Husband, Parent, Grandparent, Dog Owner, Public School Teacher, Public School Trustee

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