Trustees not backing down

School Board 79 trustees held another rally in support of their restorative budget on June 20, in Duncan.

School Board 79 trustees held another rally in support of their restorative budget on June 20, in Duncan.

Approximately 130 people attended, and this number included individuals from the Council of Canadians, trustees from up island, teachers’ representatives from Nanaimo, Victoria, and Surrey.

Support continues to pour in for the boards budget from across the province, says Duncan Brown, an SD79 trustee, evidence that Cowichan is not the only district facing funding and program cut-backs.

One issue that remains forefront in the minds of trustees is that of the legal right of the province to fire a democratically elected board. To investigate this issue further, the board voted to hire an independent lawyer.

“I don’t know if they have the right to fire us,” says Brown, adding that Minister Abbott could not be fired and replaced; there would have to be a referendum. “It’s important to ask the question.”

The board also passed a motion on their expectations for whoever would replace the board, if they were to be fired. These expectations include an opinion on how much they would be paid, who would pay them, keeping all public business in the open, and posting and publicizing meeting dates.

“Our expectations are that (any replacement) be open and accountable,” says Brown.