Editor, The Record:
Re: Parents need to stand up, Dec. 2 edition.
Ms. Isbister makes many salient points about our dysfunctional school district. I like her suggestion that parents and other citizens need to speak up, but her suggestion that people should attend school board meetings will only bring more frustration. The public is only allowed to ask questions about items which were on that meeting’s agenda. So inclusion on the meeting agenda as a delegation is necessary to address other concerns. But first the request must go to the superintendent who may or may not add the request to a meeting of the education committee, as he acts as a gatekeeper to your elected trustees. The education committee must then agree to allow a delegation to address their concerns at a public school board meeting.
There is an inordinate amount of control exercised within this bureaucracy. Elected trustees are leashed by senior management, rubber stamp policy from management, and make it difficult for constituents to reach them as an elected body. In May 2006 this same group of management officials stated Mission would never have to close schools because their projections of enrolment decline said we would be better off than other districts. How could they have been so wrong? How is it that they weren’t held accountable and are still employed after three closed schools and now two more to be potentially shut down?
I suggest another charade is proceeding with respect to the proposed closings of Deroche and Dewdney. One need look no further than to Durieu PAC Chair Jeanette Marriott’s comments about the first consultation meeting.
Management officials are masters at manipulating meetings bringing, in this case, four questions that the parents were directed to answer, and only allowing each group to generate two of their own questions which were then taken under advisement so a “spun” response could later be posted on the website. I have witnessed this process of pseudo-consultation for decades and it seems nothing has changed.
In my opinion, the decision has already been made to close Durieu and Deroche. The threat of the First Nations parents to remove their children from Mission schools entirely might keep Deroche open. Losing those children means lost money and embarrassment, which are the only things the district fears.
Trustee elections are in November. Ms. Isbister and Ms. Marriott should be candidates, along with more like-minded individuals who will have the courage and fortitude to fight for children and parents, stand up to management, and be more supportive of teachers and support staff. I hope such individuals are elected and every one of the current meek, unresponsive, ineffective and intimidated trustees are turfed.