Provincial election – BC Greens candidate for Vancouver-Langara

I am very proud to be the BC Greens MLA candidate in my home riding of Vancouver-Langara and will focus on my campaign from now until the provincial election on May 9.
I will keep up-to-date with what’s happening at the VSB, for example by reading agendas, reports and minutes, but until after the election I will less frequently attend meetings and blog about what’s happening less frequently.
I am committed to public education, care deeply about our students, and seek to serve them to the best of my ability.

VSB investigation into harassment in the workplace

This is the media release with my response to this investigation.

The Vancouver School Board (VSB) released the full investigator’s report that found bullying and harassment existed at the VSB.

Former Trustee Janet Fraser, elected as a Green Trustee in November 2014, believes that Trustees should be subject to full public scrutiny as to how they undertook their governance role. As such she contacted the VSB to inform them that she consents to the disclosure of her personal information in this report. She has received confirmation that any personal information relating to her has been disclosed.

“This report concludes that the partisan behaviour of some trustees prevailed over trustees working collaboratively as a board and with VSB staff, which created a toxic and unsustainable environment for staff,” she noted.

“The report noted specific incidents where certain trustees seemed inclined to follow a political agenda rather than seek information on which to base their decisions and engage in thoughtful discussion to assist their decision making. With hindsight I realise I could have spoken up, especially in public meetings, to attempt to curb trustees’ disrespectful behaviour and to try to ensure a safe and respectful workplace for all VSB staff,” said Fraser.

“As a newly elected trustee, I stepped into a pre-existing board dynamic that I found overly partisan and very challenging to work in. I did not fully appreciate the impact that inappropriate behaviour by other trustees was having on VSB staff and, looking to the future, it will be the responsibility of all future trustees to create and maintain a safe and respectful workplace.”

Janet Fraser’s focus as a trustee was always serving Vancouver’s students; working to give them the best opportunities for educational success and making decisions in their best interests.


Board meeting – Feb 27

Notes from the February 27 board meeting.

The VSB public meetings to consider the BC Hydro downtown substation proposal, which will impact Lord Roberts Annex, have been moved back to ensure all reports are complete.  The Planning & Facilities Committee (II) meeting will now be on March 27, with the decision to be made at a March 28 board meeting.

The student trustee Isabella Priete reported on Vancouver District Student Council (VDSC) activities.  A new website is being launched and it’s all the work of Vancouver students.  This will give easy access to current information and give opportunities for student feedback.
The VDSC survey results have two main themes – students want more diverse opportunities to show their learning as there are many types of learners, and the timing of the school day, in particular a later start time.
As Isabella is a Kitsilano student she took part, along with 1400 Kits students, in the whole school assembly and pink day parade on Broadway.  Pink day gave a great sense of community as everyone at the school came together for this great cause.

All recommendations in committee reports were approved, and all were routine school board business.  For the amended budget it was clarified that the $50/student provincial funding is not included yet.  Legal fees have more than doubled compared to last year, primarily due to more freedom of information requests.  The fee recovery is set in legislation – the first two hours work are free and subsequent hours are charged at $30/hour, but these amounts do not cover the VSB actual costs.  The budget is moving from a one-year to a five-year plan, to tie in with the five-year strategic plan.

Any targeted provincial funds received now that the amended budget has been approved will be recorded as such.  Any amounts not spent by the end of the financial year (June 30, 2017) will be recorded as a committed surplus.
Will there be more time for budget consultation if needed?  The schedule is as posted.
The VSB has received and is reviewing the independent investigator’s report required by WorkSafeBC.
The VSB will not prepare a restoration budget as they have moved to a new budget process with the intent to depoliticize the process.

For full agenda and minutes (when posted) see: