School board trustees put the ‘public’ in public education

Columnist clearly has no idea what board of education do.

Tom Fletcher called his proposal to cleanse the province of elected school trustees “modest” (“What to do with school boards?” The Leader, Nov. 18).

In my nine years as a school trustee (in Delta, now retired) I never once saw Mr. Fletcher at one of our board meetings. He has no idea what trustees do.

Congratulations and best wishes to the trustees who were elected last month.   Elected trustees put the “public” into a public education system. They serve at the pleasure of the local voters. If we had no locally elected people, the public system would be a government-controlled system (as in China or Russia).

If Mr. Fletcher had any experience of how school trustees operate he would observe them doing everything in their power to improve student learning. The biggest problem by far, in recent years, has been rising costs along with cuts to funding generated by decisions of the provincial government. This central fact gives rise to advocacy insofar as the school board in question feels free to speak honestly about the challenges it faces. It has very little to do with which party rules in Victoria.

Simply put – a trustee is the champion for public schools. Who else is in a position to do that?

It seems to offend Mr. Fletcher that unions support certain candidates. The problem here lies with the ludicrously lax legislation in B.C. with regard to campaign financing. In municipal elections enormous amounts of money flow from developers to help elect candidates that will support their enterprises. Independent candidates cannot counter these riches by themselves. Union money goes only a small way towards redressing the imbalance.

Simon Truelove, Delta

Surrey North Delta Leader

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