Thursday, December 07, 2006

November Langley School District Board Report - Special Report by Susan Semonick

Well, another Langley School District board meeting where everyone was in agreement - wonders never cease. All debate was probably held behind closed doors, in the "planning meetings" If not, we have a herd of sheep, not an elected board. The tone of the meeting was unchanged since the election of this board. All were complaining about declining enrolment, not having money, and the Ministry that they say is mandating what they do with the money. (I wonder why we need a board at all, the way they talk.)

The two delegations that spoke against moving LEC (Langley Education Center) to a secondary school environment were passionate, and their words, heartfelt. During all this, the Board looked as if they could not wait till the delegations were finished. Once a minute for the last 3 minutes of the delegations’ time, Mr. Burton interrupted them to remind them to wrap it up. I view Mr. Burton's treatment of both of these delegations as rude and impatient. These people came out in inclement weather to participate in the process with the hope that they would change the board’s minds. It appeared obvious to me that the trustee's minds were already set as I witnessed the tapping of toes, fidgeting of feet; rifling through papers, and curious eye movements. There are a total of 5 delegations permitted per meeting. Each delegation is allotted 10 minutes. It seems a bit questionable to me why Chair Burton felt he had to cut these people short.

What shocked me was that after the delegations were done within their allotted time of ten minutes - no more, we had to sit and listen to Mr. Burton complaining at length about staff members who called him about not closing the schools on Monday. He commented that he made it to work and would not be paid if he didn’t. What was interesting was that he did make it to a 7:30 am breakfast at Ricky's with two local MLA’s to complain about the government mandating things and then not funding them. As usual, no real resolutions were found except to blame the Ministry. I wonder if the breakfast was compliments of the Ministry of Education money, more than likely. (I wonder how many musical instruments could have been bought for music programs with that bill.) Then we were told that the Superintendent spent the night in a hotel so that she could make the decision of whether to close schools or not. Funny, that the staff that she must confer with could not have advised her of the situation over the phone at her home. What would have happened if she were out of town at a conference? (Savings of about $142.00 for the night would buy about 14 recorders, enough for half a class).

Why are there not more people interested in protecting the funds the Ministry allocates for the education of students; the same monies that are being used for trustees’ raises, donations to the School District Foundation and loans to School District Business Company that has made very little return? Maybe every constituent should be asking to know what exactly Trustees are doing behind those closed doors.

If you are interested in the amalgamation of the trustee electoral area for the School Board and reduction of 2 trustees as a viable option that would put approximately $50,000 annually back into the budget, you can find the petition at:

Click here for my more in depth review of the latest School Board meeting.
Susan Semonick (Susan, a previous DPAC President is a community activist working for the betterment of the Langley School District- EDITOR-LFP)

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