For the second time in a week, we are asking the same question. Did trustees meet and approve this? So far, we find no evidence, no motion, and unanswered questions to the Chair on Twitter.
This time, newly minted rookie Chair Bowen Eyre has penned a letter advocating the Education Minister, not meet with residents opposed to a Francophone school being built on a park in their neighborhood. Many have lamented “why would a community be opposed to a school in their neighborhood” trotting out charges of NIMBY (not in my backyard).
Two big issues are at stake that tend to get lost in the “I’m right if you are wrong” argument. Firstly, why is it not OK for a publicly elected Education Minister to meet with concerned citizens? Should it not be his sworn duty and obligation to discuss issues and concerns with communities? Could a better decission be made if you listen? It’s up to our government to get things right. In an article is Metro, area Councillor Ward Sutherland lamented the Francophone board has had no Community Engagement strategy and added “Then the city has to deal with the fallout of the traffic issues and all the complications because they just chose not to listen to what the best solution was.” Perhaps the city and the publicly elected area Councillor should be involved in the process? We think so.
The second is why is a publicly elected school board of Trustees advocating that the minister not speak to its electorate in the building of a school that is not even theirs? Or did they? Did trustees meet on the letter or the positions taken in the letter? Did they vote to send it? Were they even informed before the letter was sent?
If the new Chair acted on her own, this is a very troubling development. We hope the Chair will focus on the many issues within the Calgary Board of Education and spend her time controlling what she can control.