Editor, The News:
Re: Our schools can take no more: board (The News, July 18).
Anyone else impressed with how public our school board has been about the chronic underfunding of education?
Anyone else wonder why?
Let me remind you that, in less than four months, there is another municipal election for school board.
Don’t kid yourself, the upcoming election is the motivation behind the most recent letter and public statements made by our board regarding the latest round of extreme budget cuts that they were “forced” to make.
It is too little, too late. This very board, majority of members unchanged from the previous board, has made deep budget cuts to almost every facet of School District No. 42’s operations the last few years.
While doing so, they repeatedly stated that they have no choice due to their legal requirement to pass a balanced school budget. There is no denying that this is the case and we do have a recent example (Cowichan) where government fired a locally elected school board for taking a stand and refusing to pass a balanced budget, then replaced them with a government official.
What better way to continue the Liberal government agenda of dismantling public education and have folks feel they have no choice but place their child in private school?
If they are forced to balance the budget, at the very least you would expect our locally elected board to advocate for our students in more creative ways than simply letter writing.
Consider the fact that some of our trustees actively campaigned to get both of our Liberal MLAs elected, I wonder how those conversations go?
Enough is enough. On Nov. 15, we need to change our school board and elect another board that will do more than write letters to an already overheated paper shredder at the ministry.
My responsibility is to the teachers of Maple Ridge who elect me, not the BCTF.
And trustees should be responsible to the public who elect them, not BCPSEA.
At a recent meeting, trustee Ken Clarkson attempted to get the board to have a public discussion about the current bargaining impasse.
To have this discussion, it would have taken a majority vote by the other trustees to override their own policy keeping such matters to private meetings only.
Sure enough, the majority of the board voted against having a public discussion on our current situation.
In other words, the public has no idea where this board stands, exactly how trustees like it.
I know school board elections do not garner the same attention as city council, but I urge all of you concerned about our current education system and the chronic underfunding that is cutting direct services to our students, to make it a priority to vote.
George Serra, president