April private vs. public meeting time

In April, the CBE trustees again met longer in private than in public. In total, they met for 10 hours and 41 minutes.

Public time for April: 5 hours, 10 minutes (or 48% of the total board meeting time)

Private time: 5 hours, 31 minutes (or 52% of the total board meeting time)

Breakdown by meeting:

April 3: This is the first time the new board procedures came into effect, meaning that meeting times were moved earlier in the day. The public meeting began at 3:03pm until 5:50pm, with a 16 minute break. The board did not move in camera. The public meeting lasted 2 hours and 31 minutes.

April 10: This was the regularly scheduled in camera session for April. It began at 11:00am, with two trustees opposed to moving in camera. The meeting concluded at 4:31pm. From the resulting motions, it appears that the board discussed revising the public meeting agenda template (two trustees opposed), selected the Distinguished Alumni for EducationMatters, discussed delegation of authority to the chief superintendent, received a media scan update, reviewed audit observations from 2010-2011, viewed specific student fees, received a construction status report and the chief superintendent’s update. The private meeting lasted 5 hours and 31 minutes.

April 17: The public meeting began at 3:00pm and continued until 5:54 with a 15 minute break. Again, the board did not move in camera. The public meeting lasted 2 hours and 39 minutes.

Once again, we’ll remind you that this list includes only meetings that are posted online and does not include working group meetings, attended by all trustees. It has been suggested that trustees meet for approximately two hours each week at information work sessions, or 8 hours per month. If those were accounted for, it would mean the trustees met for approximately 18 hours and 41 minutes in private, or about 75% of the time was spent behind closed doors. The School Act (Section 70 “Open Meetings”) requires trustees to meet in public (“(1)  The meetings of a board shall be held in public”) and the board is allowed to meet in private only when they feel it is in the public interest (“(3) when a majority of the trustees present at a meeting of the board are of the opinion that it is in the public interest to hold the meeting or a part of the meeting in private for the purpose of considering any matter, the board may by resolution exclude any person from the meeting”). It’s difficult to understand how the public’s best interest is served by discussing a media scan or student fees in private.


One thought on “April private vs. public meeting time

  1. I find all of this so interesting. Never would have given a thought about any of this stuff had I not gotten interested because of the lack of attention in Alberta schools regarding our family’s ‘issue’. I think for many parents in Alberta unless they have an ‘issue’ most things are not given much attention.

    Anyway, because I am now ‘engaged’ (still working on that much needed attention) and know that the ‘Education Act’ is in the works, wonder if it differs from the ‘School Act’.

    The part that affects safety (anaphylaxis) has changed but won’t change anything anyway in my opinion because it’s very open to interpretation. I would sure like to make changes there, but have no idea what to do about it.
    I enjoy reading what you write and want to say thanks for helping me understand some of it.

    I have some experience with school boards, and have been trying to be ‘engaged’.

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