On November 15, 2014 nine trustees were elected by Vancouver voters to guide our students’ success – trustees develop and implement plans and policies, set the budget, and speak up for our students. We were locally elected to listen to our communities to best understand our district’s strengths, challenges and the demands on our system.
On October 17, 2016 our entire board, all nine trustees, were dismissed from office by the Minister of Education. I am very disappointed and saddened that the locally elected trustees can no longer represent the Vancouver electorate and that for at least a year there will be a single Official Trustee.
As a former trustee and a parent of three children in Vancouver’s schools I care about public education in Vancouver and across BC and want to continue to work on behalf of our students. I want to continue to listen to our VSB stakeholders, including students, parents, staff and community members and can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by text 604-362-1826.
I will go to VSB board and committee meetings while the Official Trustee holds office so as to know what is happening in our district and how the decisions are made. Key questions are what proposals can be made for a balanced 2017/18 budget when there is an estimated $15 million shortfall, what will happen with the suspended school closure process, and the future of non-school sites such as Kingsgate Mall.
In our nearly two years as a board we developed and approved two significant plans:
- Long Range Facilities Plan (May 2016): To guide facilities planning to 2030 and ensure timely completion of the Seismic Mitigation Program.
- Five-year Strategic Plan and 2016-17 Priorities (October 2016): A framework to implement prioritized key objectives to achieve the vision of inspiring student success by providing an innovative, caring and responsive learning environment.
These plans were both developed with significant VSB stakeholder and community input and were passed unanimously by our board.
Key motions approved include one I introduced to protect school lands for generations of students to come: That the VBE commit to not sell school lands but maintain or increase our current number of school sites to preserve neighbourhood sites for current and future educational and community use. This would not preclude land swaps or the sale of portion of school sites provided that educational programs could still be offered.
Our board also recently approved a lease/license policy to not lease property to independent schools to secure public capital assets for community use and maintain our student enrolment.
My hope is that the Official Trustee will acknowledge and honour the direction set by our elected board as she makes decisions during her term in office.
My hope is that she will continue the highly valued practice of consulting with VSB stakeholders, students, parents, all our employee groups and community members, to fully understand our diverse and complex district.
The VSB focus should be, as always, student success in safe buildings.