I ask this simple question to all 7 of our Public School Trustees. When reports and motions are presented to you, do you focus on the merit of what is being proposed or do you focus on who brought it forward?
When you see many 5-2 votes in the last group of trustees and many 4-3 votes (4 of 7 trustees are the same) in this first year, it appears to be about choosing sides rather than about the merit of the proposal.
In other political realms, there are clear divisions: left, right, centre and parties vie for votes based on these principles. At city hall, you see Councillors who are more pro-business than others, but often you will see different Councillors voting together at different times, based on the merit of the argument. In contrast, the Calgary Board of Education Trustees primarily vote in blocks. What are these camps and what do they stand for? In many cases the argument boils down to sharing information with the public and giving the public input vs. keeping information to themselves and making decisions without the spotlight of that pesky media.
A couple examples of this can be found in these 2 stories:
A 22 minute phone call to a reporter with concerns over him knowing the information he wrote on:http://metronews.ca/news/calgary/963030/accusations-fly-during-impromptu-calgary-board-of-education-trustee-call-to-metro-reporter/
An e mail in which one trustee questions another over comments made in the newspaper: http://www.scribd.com/doc/235495619/Leaked-trustee-emails
If trustees honestly had the best interests of students and Calgarians at heart, they would be far less concerned with choosing sides and cultivating their image, and far more interested in evaluating the merits of proposals brought before them.