December is a time of renewal and looking forward to the year ahead, for a School Board.

We have 11 months until a new School Board is sworn in, October elections in 2018. Over the next 11 months I believe that we need to look into a number of issues. We need to set some real, achievable Strategic Directions.

(1) we need to work at improving our Aboriginal success rates, ours are slightly below the Provincial average and that really isn’t good enough,

(2) we have reports coming back in the new year on food security for our students and student trustees and both are very important issues,

(3) I have been hearing anecdotal stories, which I have reported to the School Board, and believe that we have a huge issue of a lack of resources in our schools and will be bringing forward a motion for January to look into that issue,

(4) I believe that we have a Public Engagement problem/issue. The way that the District attempts to engage the public is both reactive and what I call a “sit and wait” approach, we need to review what could be done and change our structures (I brought forward a motion to that effect in November 2016 and it has not been brought forward yet),

(5) we need to establish an Audit Committee (again one of my November 2016 motions that was never brought forward), but it is also now a requirement of the Ministry of Education. I believe that we want and need outside expertise on that Audit Committee to help the Board review both it’s financial obligations and risks that we might be facing,

(6) I believe the we need both a Duty to Document policy that sets out how and what we need to document on our decision making, so that we are not relying on the memories of trustees, and we need a Duty to Inform policy that requires our Administration to put everything in writing so that the Board, and the community, can make fully informed and reflective decisions based on having the information in writing before us.

As we move forward electing Chair and ViceChair to lead the Board we need to be aware of our duty to represent the students and the community in providing guidance and direction to the Superintendent and District Senior Staff.

Author: Michael Ewen

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

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