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Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Susan Semonick On Schools - March 19, 2008 - Langley Board Correcting Mistake
Finally, it appears that Langley Board of Education is admitting to a mistake and is taking action to correct it, even if it is after the Minister of Education had to make them see reason. The Board has extended an invitation to meet with members of the Special Needs Steering Committee. The meeting is to take place, some would say fittingly, on April 1, 2008.
Now, if only other actions could be corrected before major cost is incurred and/or damage is done. We currently have a Board of Education that, during its term, has purchased an old school, spent considerable funds to refurbish and upgrade it, and are now closing other schools that I have been told are newer. This Board has also approved a non-comprehensive curriculum to be offered at Langley Fundamental Middle Secondary School. Does that meet their mandate to improve student achievement? How does this simple streamlining of course offerings and limiting choice benefit these students, when in all of the arguments to date for other areas in the school district, the mantra has been to create more choice?
With respect to the Building for the Future Consultations that school communities have endured, we have Board members making public comparisons between various groups of constituents and deeming two completely different scenarios as the same situation when in fact one geographic area was treated completely differently than the other. You would think it would be appropriate for Board members to admit that maybe one area consultation was handled to meet the needs of a community and the process given adequate time while the other was not. Or, has the community in compliance with (or submission to) the majority of the Board's wishes for their area, been promised things that will not happen? Time will tell and I hope that these decisions are not detrimental to the students involved.
Many have suggested to me that in all likelihood those currently sitting on the Board will not be re-elected. Everyone should be gravely concerned in regards to the ability of those board members should they have the nerve to stand for re-election. Was making these comparisons truly appropriate behaviour by an elected official? Have they breached their Code of Conduct? Is this an example of how they make decisions that are life altering to the students? If your own answers to any of these questions are disconcerting to you as parents and/or as taxpayers, I hope you make your voice heard when elections roll around in November. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to vote for new candidates who will have open minds.
I have previously requested that the Langley Board of Education have a public forum to openly discuss the possibility of amalgamation of electoral areas so that every voter in the school district can vote for all of the Board members (trustees). Let us also discuss the reduction of two seats so that the savings of an estimated $50,000 per annum can be placed back into the classroom.