Saturday, January 24, 2009

Letter To The Editor From Susan Semonick Re: School Board Aldergrove Decision Right

The motions approved at the last Board of Education meeting are warranted on the financial end of things. I know from the last consultations in the Aldergrove area that a majority of parents felt they were being forced down a road that they knew little about, but had no choice. Trustee Joan Bech was in attendance at these forums.

A small group of parents who are involved in the PACs have been sold a bill of goods.

Anyone with a bit of brain knew this motion would be at the top of the agenda; that is, if we were to believe anything from the election propaganda. Even though personalities are in play here, look beyond that. You will see this is an attempt to correct how the past board has conducted business.

This was the first official public meeting of the new board since taking the oath of office. It appears that Trustee Wendy Johnson is trying to follow through on her promises. I know that that is a shock for many; however, she did top the polls with those promises.

The cost for fruitless forums, if the format stays the same, I believe is more than $10,000 an event.

I hope the best for Betty Gilbert and Aldergrove Secondary students. All we are hearing lately is about the gangs, killing, and organized crime in your area. It seems this community may be in crisis in more ways than one.

With the low mortgage rates, maybe it is an opportune time for the families to move to areas that meet the needs of their children. Or for the majority to become more visible and state what they feel would be best for the children overall.

The enrollment figures suggest there are more people against the middle school concept than there are for it. Betty Gilbert is down 81 students this year.

The trustees, when asked to attend the PAC meetings, at that point should have realized that maybe a community forum was required. It looks like Johnson is the only one that has realized this. This would have enabled everyone directly involved to be in the same room to exchange information, and to move forward positively.

Trustees Steve Burton, Alison McVeigh and Rod Ross have to realize that business practices will be more open than before, much as the Township council is now adjusting to. Financial accountability will be at the forefront of the discussions, instead of being discussed in some back room with only the clique in attendance.

Good on you Wendy, for taking the first step to improving decision-making practices in this school district. Hopefully the follow-up motions will be done with more process, and no malice towards each other.

Parents in Aldergrove, take a breath. They will not cancel your French immersion program overnight — it will still be there.

Getting an additional year to have staff trained and prepared for what may be implemented to improve the education of your children could be a godsend. It may be time to extend your listening ear to ones other than those you have been already been listening to.

The old board did practice “divide and conquer” tactics. Hopefully, the new board will practice transparency and communication as a whole before decisions are made that will affect your children. The forum format must change, to improve anything this district has attempted in the past. Hopefully, DPAC is on top of this.

Susan Semonick,


Editor’s note — A poll on The Times website, as of Friday morning, had 28 people supporting the board decision to delay the middle school, and 27 opposed. You can vote at
Editor's note: See Advance story on original Aldergrove School Board vote at this link.

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