Yesterday, the CBE released the agenda and reports for tonight’s board meeting. On that agenda is a motion by Chair Cochrane, Trustee King and Trustee Bowen-Eyre to amend the current board policies. You can read a summary of the changes on page 7-85 of the report, or continue reading for our perception of which changes were positive, and which were not.
- Board meeting agenda and reports will be provided to trustees on the Wednesday before board meetings, rather than Friday, allowing trustees more time to read them. (p. 7-97)
- Board meetings will start at 3 pm rather than 5pm, which will avoid trustees having to make important decisions late at night. It is not stated if they consulted any of the public that regularly attend meetings, including their official stakeholders, as to whether this would make it easier or more difficult for them to attend. (p. 7-94)
- Increased security around private reports of a sensitive nature. (9-97)
- Recording and broadcasting board meetings. The procedures do not state whether the broadcast will be live. (p. 7-114)
- Trustees can not have private conversations in person, via e-mail, text or social media when another trustee is speaking. (p. 7-108)
- If the day before the board meeting is a holiday, then the reports will not be provided to the public until three hours before the meeting. (p. 7-79)
- Informal work sessions are being used to have “private discussions and deliberations” which is contrary to the School Act. (p. 7-103)
- Informal briefing sessions “for the purpose of providing background information, clarification, and in-depth discussion with respect to issues of relevance for Trustees.” Shouldn’t the public have access to this information as well? (p. 7-96)
- Removal of trustee notices of motion. We are unclear as to whether this means that individual trustees can no longer bring forward items of business on behalf of their constituents or not.
- Removal of trustee inquiries (where a trustee can ask for information about any issue that is of concern to them).
- Removal of the ability of individual trustees to remove items from the consent agenda to be discussed during the board meeting.
- Removal of stakeholder reports (where any member of the public can address the board for three minutes about any CBE issue).
- Removal of public inquiries (where any member of the public can ask for information about any CBE issue).
- To ban any audio or video recording or broadcasting of their public board meetings. (p. 7-114)
- To only provide recordings of meetings for 30 days. (p. 7-114)
For more detailed information as to why these items are of concern to us, please read our blog posts on how these procedures are limiting the ability of trustees to represent their constituents and how they are cutting the public out of their board meetings.