LETTER: Nine years as trustee is enough for me, thanks to B.C. government

The Editor,

With great regret, I will not put my name forward as a candidate for trustee on the Delta Board of Education – a position I have held proudly since 2005. During that time, I can report that the district has been exceptionally well run by our professional staff, and there has been so much to celebrate in the performance of our students. It has been my great privilege to be part a system where, on all levels, people work so well together.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the performance of our provincial government with respect to public education. My nine years have seen continual squeezing of our funding, downloading of costs and denial of responsibility for cuts by government. Trustees are supposed to be able to ensure the “public” part of public education through a co-governance relationship with the Ministry of Education. We are the only body specifically elected by local voters with responsibility for public schools, but if we speak out about government actions, we risk having our district punished by the allocation of scarce resources to other districts.

Our recent experience of the longest strike in the history of B.C. schools is one indicator of how badly the system has been broken. Since June, school boards had been calling for the schools to be re-opened, but our input was effectively silenced. The only winners were the private schools. To say the least, it has been frustrating.

Decisions made locally are usually best, and school boards need more latitude in how schools are run and in how they are financed. In spite of the best efforts of all involved, our system in B.C. will slip in comparison to other parts of the country if the negative trends in funding are not reversed.

So, after nine years with my warmest best wishes to the next Delta Board of Education, I am passing the torch. May you continue to do the best you can on behalf of Delta students.

Simon Truelove,

North Delta

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