Saturday, December 16, 2006

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

(Susan Semonick is a previous DPAC President and a community activist working for the betterment of the Langley School District- EDITOR-LFP)

I would like to clarify a portion of an article that was printed in the December 13, 2006 edition of the Langley Times (page 24). I did not state that Township people should not be elected in the city, only that there are. This makes the point of amalgamation even more logical and gives city voters a better voice. I hope that the readers will see that the Board is more concerned with their percentages than how to save reading programs or supply musical instruments to children. If they thought $50,000 was a trivial amount, why are they still trying to validate the exact amount and how I got to that figure? Regardless of exact figures, what they can't deny is that any amount would help. I still support that my figure is more accurate than what they state. I don't even get paid to do the research and have a harder time acquiring information than they do.
Nothing new except that several of the trustees went to a conference sponsored by the BCSTA. Nothing was stated as to what they may or may not have learned.

Thursday, January 18 Brookswood Secondary School
Thursday, February 8 H.D. Stafford
Thursday, February 22 Langley Secondary School
These are public consultation meetings. Coffee is served at 6:30 pm and meetings begin at 7:00 pm. All Aldergove Community Consultation participants were given a verbal special invitation to attend these meetings.

This report was missing a vital piece of information - administrative costs at LEC. This would tend to make us wonder if the program is losing money. Yet they report that they are doing fine. This was accepted unanimously by the trustees. One trustee questioned the vital missing information but received no illuminating response other than that the program is intended to break even. But, did it? We still don't know and no trustee asked for a follow-up.

Another meeting and still no financial statement was provided to the public other than a single page report stating that the Ministry has yet to provide the funds it promised. A monthly statement, which used to be provided, should include the additional costs of Trustees that have been incurred due to raises. They have a raise that is in effect December 1st and as of December 12th, they still don't even know the amount that it will be. I wonder how professionals in finance would view this type of fiscal management of a multi-million dollar budget. This board continuously approves things without even knowing the costs involved.

This letter to go out to parents has made it clearer regarding how the district intends to proceed for the balance of this year. They say that the apprenticeship courses may be cancelled. Yet, next on the agenda, they pass a new district approved course and state that they have 20 students already registered for it. Wonders never cease with this Board's lack of planning and vision. If you have no money, why are you passing things that you cannot afford and offering something that you do not have the resources to pay for? The Board Approved Course (Piping 12) was approved unanimously; again this is great and how wonderful. If I were a trustee, I would be asking if it can be maintained with our current budget restrictions. Offering things to students at what cost??? What other apprenticeship programs will be cancelled to be able to afford yet another one?

According to one Trustee, this is a fabulous plan but then they also stated they wouldn't pay to be part of this gig - not realizing that they are already paying for it as a taxpayer. I haven't the background to make a comment on this one.

Two new school buses were approved. I would have asked on what routes will they be replacing the old with new? (Or is this to accommodate the Fundamental students taking electives at Brookswood?)

Hurray for Trustee Hogeterp!!!! She at least showed she read the list by saying she wishes she would have the opportunity to read some of the books.

Trustee Paterson made some comments that I would like to respond to. She stated that the reduction of a trustee seat would cost approx. $16,000 and after receiving budget information from the secretary-treasurer, could not find where the quoted $25,000 came from. She alluded that a certain person was giving out wrong information. I will infer that her kettle has no water and is burning its bottom.

The estimated amount spent on trustees of $25,000.00 per year is actually pretty right on, if not on the low side. I call it cost accounting.

If you would like to send a loud and clear message to the Ministry that we are in crisis then sign the petition at:

Anyone who cares about the education of students should sign the petition as a moral and ethical stand, in support of our children's education.

To the regular bloggers, keep blogging and have a Merry Merry and a Happy
Happy New Year.
Susan Semonick...

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