Columns: CCTA must have its reasons

It’s great to see the number of younger people getting involved in the rail tie burning issue.

It’s great to see the number of younger people getting involved in the rail tie burning issue.

Fresh public energy is  needed on all environmental fronts, I hope they stay with it. Whether the appeal of Atlantic Power’s permit is successful or not, the question remains, are current air quality  standards adequate? Does the Ministry of the Environment (MOE ) take into account existing polluters? (That would include motor vehicles.)  Does MOE have enough resources to monitor everything?  Does  it ever consult  with  other ministries, like health?

***

Local school trustees seldom get much attention but that might change since last week’s vote of non-confidence from the Cariboo Chilcotin Teacher’s Association.

The Vancouver school board is in the education minister’s bad books because trustees there have the silly idea they might know more about district needs than he does. They’ve run up a large deficit.

That’s the big no-no, usually cause for firing, but the upcoming provincial election has likely saved them from that. The minister might fear Vancouver voters will agree with the trustees. The CCTA is peeved because #1, trustees didn’t provide a “seamless transition of leadership in the superintendent position;” #2, they changed the role of the secretary treasurer; #3 the district’s Audited Financial Statement indicates a $1.7 million surplus.

Trustees deserve some slack #1 because the former superintendent’s sudden departure was, well, sudden. I don’t know enough about #2 to comment, but #3 is worrisome. It could mean students were shortchanged. Trustees no doubt are comfortable with the surplus (the education minister must love them) but the CCTA must have reasons to be concerned or they wouldn’t take such drastic action.

Question. What do parents think? Any protests? NB. I use the old fashioned “school board” designation rather than Board of Education because, in my opinion, a name change doesn’t alter the fact that the school system is out- of- date. School boards once were independent, but over the years, governments have picked away at their power. Now they don’t control the curriculum or their funding, and they can be fired at the government’s whim. They are handy for taking blame for closing schools to meet budget restraints though.

Diana French is a freelance columnist,  former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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