A "landslide" majority of parents attending the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils annual meeting held last weekend supported the bid to ban teachers from serving as school trustees, which was put forward by New Westminster parents
The confederation passed New Westminster district parent advisory council's resolution to follow Ontario and Alberta's lead in banning school board employees, including teachers, from serving as school trustees to avoid a genuine or perceived conflict of interest.
"It was the largest margin out of all the resolutions," said New Westminster district parent advisory council past-president Paul Johansen, who attended the meeting held in Coquitlam.
There was "no discussion" on the vote, and it was called right away, Johansen said. He estimates that only about 10 people voted against the teacher-ban motion.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. The confederation didn't have the exact vote count at press time but in an email said it was passed by a "large majority."
Currently, in British Columbia, teachers are only banned from running in school districts where they work. New Westminster has three teachers - trustees Michael Ewen, Jonina Campbell and David Phelan - serving on the seven-member board.
The teacher ban vote was controversial in New Westminster, with some parents complaining about the district parent council's handling of the vote, which was done through email with just a day to weigh in. Despite the controversies, the resolution went forth to the confederation.
The other New Westminster DPACforwarded resolutions that were passed at the confederation's meeting include a call for a return to "targeted" special needs funding, which would take special needs funds from the district's general operating budget and put it back towards special needs students; a reporting process on student suspensions and expulsions; and a mandatory question period during public meetings with responses recorded in school board minutes.
Parent councils also passed the New Westminster Secondary School's parent advisory council's resolution for more latitude on how gaming grants funds can be spent.
The only New West resolution that failed was a motion for the Ministry of Education to develop a "universal" provincewide complaint process. Instead, the confederation wants to develop its own complaint process to be presented at next year's meeting.
New Westminster had the most resolutions of any other parent council in the province at the meeting. The confederation lobbies the government on behalf of parents and represents a membership of more than 1,000 parent and district advisory councils from every school district in the province.