Where are the voices of the SD72 board?

Opinion: As teachers in our district maintain daily picket lines, sightings of SD72 trustees have been scarce

In the ongoing dispute between public school teachers and Premier Christy Clark, B.C. voters have heard from several quarters.

The Premier and Education Minister Peter Fassbender have voiced their positions; BC Teachers’ Union President Jim Iker has spoken for the teachers.

We’ve heard from parents; we’ve heard from students. Professors, reporters and political pundits have all weighed in.

As well, Patti Bacchus, chair of the Vancouver School Board (VSB) has been a frequent voice of reason as news channels follow the story.

School trustees are elected to the school board during municipal elections.

This year, for the first time, they will be elected to four-year terms.

Trustees are responsible for setting the school board’s overall policy direction and budget, and they represent the interests of the communities, parents and students in their area. In School District 72, trustees represent the communities within the district; therefore our school board includes representatives from Sayward, Quadra and the outlying islands, and five from Campbell River.

These seven elected members are, in effect, the employer for School District 72. They are charged with upholding the right of each child to a quality, public-funded education.

Yet as teachers in our district maintain daily picket lines, sightings of SD72 trustees have been scarce.

Teachers find this surprising, given that these elected officials are charged with representing the interests of communities, parents and students.

Is it not in the interests of their constituents to have schools open and students back in the classroom?

What are our trustees’ positions?

For that matter, where are they?

Only three trustees, to the CRDTA local’s knowledge, have ever met with teachers on the picket line: Chair Michele Babchuk , Trustee Daryl Hagen, and Trustee Joyce McMann.

We could use more trustees like VSB Chair Bacchus.

We need elected representatives who are independent-minded, confident in their role and who take their responsibilities to their constituents – parents, students, teachers, support staff and the community at large – seriously.

Municipal elections are coming Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014.  Nomination documents must be submitted by Friday, Oct. 10.

Do you know a fair-minded independent thinker with a

passionate interest in public education?

Maybe that describes you.

If you want public education in the Campbell River School District to truly represent the breadth of our community, encourage the talented people in your circle to submit their names for public office.

Our schools deserve the best.

 

Dave Harper

President

Campbell River District Teachers’ Association