Letters: Trustees find money for raise

They were virtually mute throughout the strike, at a time when they should have been raising hell with the government.

Editor, The News:

I am disgusted, but not surprised.

I attended the school board meeting last Wednesday and witnessed the current trustees vote for a raise in trustee remuneration.

They made sure to praise themselves for a job well done, and to comment on how hard their jobs are.  They sang of how hard they have worked in the last few months, supporting their employees during a bitter strike.

That’s laughable. They were virtually mute throughout the strike, at a time when they should have been raising hell with the government.

But they couldn’t do that because it wouldn’t go over well at the Liberal fundraisers and functions they attend.

The only time we heard even a peep of support from them was as the upcoming election came into focus.  And it was definitely a peep. It should have been a resounding roar of shame against the government.

I found it bitterly amusing to see them fluffing up, ready to vote for an increase while reiterating the same justifications teachers recently cited: doing hard work, comparing themselves to other districts, no increase in a few years.

They were very positive about themselves and all the programs they approve, (that teachers then put into place and develop to excellence).

But when it got to ‘You can’t attract good people unless you’re willing to pay them well,’ I wasn’t amused anymore. That shows me what they think of the teachers in their employ, not that it was any secret.

If the teachers aren’t entitled to even a cost of living increase, how can these trustees justify this slap in the face?

If there’s no money, there’s no money, for anyone.

This reminds me of the recent Liberal raises of up to 18 per cent.

And let’s not forget the $68,000 search for superintendent candidates, none of whom they were satisfied with, when they have a fabulous acting superintendent right under their noses, but wouldn’t hire.

But there’s no money.

I know some of you are now on the greedy teacher bandwagon, but I am not just talking about teachers. This is the same board of trustees who just laid off all the district’s secretaries and EAs, as well as other positions from maintenance and custodial – because there’s no money.

This is the same board who, with tears in some of their lying eyes, listened to the devastation such a move was going to cause in our schools, but completely ignored the loyal, knowledgeable individuals who tried to warn of the future malfunctions currently being faced by our schools, because ‘there’s no money.’

Staff who were hired back have had hours cut, so much so that schools cannot run efficiently, nor cleanly, nor safely.  The lack of support in classrooms is even more critical than before.

My EA is needed full time in a Kindergarten classroom with challenges that do not allow her to leave for more than a moment to check on me and see if she can help out in the minutes, or seconds, before she must return to the other students. She simply is not able to be in two places at once.

We have four EAs in a school that needs seven just to make some sense of order. And this is the environment your children are immersed in daily, and it’s everywhere throughout the district.

Let’s vote in a board that cares about the future of public education. A properly funded public education for our children helps us all.  They are our future, and it is up to us to fight for them. There is money, there really is. We just need a government who will spend it on public education.

As the great Dr. Seuss wrote in The Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.

Mary Charron

Maple Ridge