Parents concerned about new unchecked authority

Calgary Board of Education trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a new administration policy that will direct more decision-making power to the hands of the district superior.

Expenses exceeding $500,000 will no longer be overseen by the board, but by the chief superintendent.

Financial reports will be issued quarterly by the city ward.

“Every penny we get and we spend, we carefully consider how it will affect the learning of 104,000 students,” said CBE chairwoman Pat Cochrane.

The decision irked some local parents who are demanding more accountability from the top decision makers in regard to the management of the $1.1-billion budget.

The Calgary Board of Education approved a new policy on Tuesday where spending over $500,000 will no longer be overseen by the board of trustees.
Photo by: Conor Mahoney

Parent Julie Miller said, “The trustees are not transparent, enough is enough.

“They do hold a lot of their meetings only in camera, so the public does not get a chance to know what they are discussing.”

During the public’s input dialogue, Miller expressed her views of the board’s refusal to address the concerns of parents at last week’s Calgary Association of Parent and School Council meetings, saying the board seems bothered by parents’ concerns.

She said parents worry taxpayer funds will not be handled carefully, but will be left in the hands of a chief superintendent who will report quarterly to the committee

“They’re leaving us out on purpose,” said Miller. “Parents can’t give their input, they never talk about issues with the public.”

Former teacher Helen Mowat, who worked for the CBE for more than 15 years said “the system is totally broken and has to be fixed.

“We have to reform it, the power lays too much in the hands of the hierarchy. There is a missing link between the bureaucracy and the students, the teachers.”

Miller and Mowat both requested the board to further consult with the public before the new policy was approved.

The board of trustees is made up of:

Ward 1, 2 – Joy Bowen-Eyre

Ward 3, 4 – Lynn Ferguson

Ward 5, 10 – Pamela King

Ward 6, 7 – George Lane

Ward 8, 9 – Pat Cochrane

Ward 11, 13 – Sheila Taylor

Ward 12, 14 – Carol Bazinet

cmahoney@cjournal.ca