Is this democracy?

In my opinion: Public must be included in policy changes

At the recent School District 79 Board Meeting of Sept. 12, notice of motion was given of the new Draft Policy 1500: Policy Development, and the  official trustee approved it. At the next board meeting on Oct. 3, this draft policy could become the new district policy, and could potentially change all existing policies within School District 79.

Here are some quotes from the recommendations within the agenda documents of the Sept. 12 meeting.

The new Policy 1500: Policy Development, “will enable the Board to adopt, rescind or amend policy in a timely manner” and “will enable the board, with a two-thirds majority, to adopt, rescind or amend policy without providing an opportunity for public comment.”

The public has the opportunity, right now, to provide input on the proposed amendment to the secretary-treasurer, by Sept. 26.

Comparing the old and new policies, the old Policy 1500 provides for policies “based on community values” and that are “consistent with the board’s goals and objectives (Mission Statement).”

There are constant references to the Policy Committee and their role in all stages of policy development, from policy considerations, to drafting, to recommending and adopting. The Policy Committee has, in the past, included members from the employee groups as well as District Student Advisory Council and the District Parent Advisory Committee.

New  Policy 1500 provides the board “may refer to the Policy Committee”  and “may provide parameters to the Policy Committee to guide the review or development.” There is no stated commitment to include the Policy Committee at any stage, nor is there clear, stated reference to including community values or alignment to the board’s goals and objectives.

Essentially, the new Policy 1500, the one that governs other policies, like Policy 2445: Closure of Schools, or Policy 1010: Individual or Group Delegations to the board, to name just two, could be changed without the public’s input and knowledge. Reviewing, updating and even changing policy is a good thing, but doing so without including the public could mean the public is left to react to, and not be part of, any change.

What do you think? Sept. 26 is the last day for submissions to the secretary-treasurer.

Chris Rolls, President, Lake Cowichan Teachers’ Association, Vice President, Cowichan Valley Teachers’ Federation


Just Posted

CVRD Area E director Alison Nicholson, right, hiked two hours to Waterfall Camp at the Fairy Creek watershed along with Comox town councillor Nicole Minion and Comox Valley Regional District director Daniel Arbour to meet with old-growth logging activists on Monday, June 7. (Submitted)
Cowichan Valley regional director visits Fairy Creek protest camps

‘They clearly communicated that they are committed to what they are doing’

Tim Wilkinson, who will attempt a double anvil triathlon on Vancouver Island on July 3, poses with his training partner, Shadow, who has been dragged up and down the Nanaimo Parkway many times. (Submitted)
Vancouver Island triathlete takes on ‘double anvil’ for charity

7.6km swim, 360km bike ride, and 84.4km run, all within 36 hours

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

From left: Thomas Kuecks, David Lane, John Ivison, Denis Berger, Rod Gray, and James Kuecks are Cabin Fever. Catch their performance on the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre website. (Ashley Foot photo)
A&E column: Music Festival winners, CVAC awards, and Cabin Fever

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Stanley Fischer, right, died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Victoria police not reopening investigation into man’s 1981 death while in custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found in his jail cell

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Most Read