Saturday’s Calgary Herald article questioning the legality of the Calgary Board of Education’s lunchroom supervision fees states that the Calgary Herald has obtained a copy of the 13-page legal document that ARTICS has been calling on the CBE to release publicly. We felt that the public was owed a full explanation of why two trustees had withdrawn from all budget discussions due to this legal document. On Twitter, former CBE communications consultant, Stephen Carter (@carter_bbold), had responded to that blog post by saying, “hang on – one trustee stayed in the room and did her duty. One didn’t. No explanation needed. One does her job.” He was referring to Trustee Pat Cochrane not declaring a pecuniary interest while she had children in school and Trustee Sheila Taylor now declaring a conflict of interest due to the fact that she is a parent and pays school fees. I later responded to him by asking, “What possible reason could the CBE have for not releasing this document?” I guess now I know, at least partially.
I want to make it clear that ARTICS has not had, and is not currently in possession of this 13-page report. If we were, it would already be posted on our website. We have not seen it and only became aware that it was in the public domain when the Herald contacted us and requested an interview. ARTICS remains dedicated to holding the Board of Trustees accountable and will continue to push for full transparency and responsive governance. We will continue to ask the Board of Trustees to release this document in its entirety to the public so that it can be read in context. Again, we invite you to contact your trustee to make it very clear that you feel that it is in the public’s best interest to make this report public as soon as possible. The issues contained therein need to be clarified, and we should know if our trustees do, in fact, have a valid reason to be withdrawing from all budget discussions or not.
If you would like to go a step further, at every board meeting, 15 minutes is reserved on the agenda for questions to the Board and another 15 minutes is reserved for stakeholder reports. If you would like to have a question answered or seek clarification on any educational matter, then you must submit it to the Corporate Secretary’s office (email@example.com) before noon on the day of the board meeting. When submitting a question, you must provide your full name, full mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, electoral ward that you live in, and confirm that you are a public school board supporter. You will not be required to read your question aloud at the meeting, but you must be physically in the room for the question to be answered. This is done near the beginning of the meeting, which starts at 5pm, and you are not required to stay for the entire board meeting after having your question answered. If you would like to verbally address the board of trustees for three minutes on the public record, you can do so by advising the Corporate Secretary’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-294-8173 or in person at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting.
Let’s make our voices heard.