Letter to the editor 4, Aug. 27, 2015

Dear Editor,

At the Lester B. Pearson School Board Executive Committee Meeting held August 24, 2015, I learned from Chairperson Suanne Stein Day that now Spain joins China and India as part of the board's thriving, lucrative "International Program" (Agenda Item 6.0).

Meanwhile back at home, I also learned - or actually reconfirmed - that the Executive Committee meetings are a complete farce. Here's the latest.

Earlier in the day, as is my custom, it was my intent to send the board an email with my questions and/or concerns - regardless of the ban imposed on me by Chairperson Stein Day to participate at Public Question Periods. Proper business practices and common courtesy call for putting out an agenda at least 24 hours before public meetings.

There was no agenda. I sent the board an email which, in part, said:

"At the time of this writing there is still no Agenda for the Exec. Committee meeting today at 5:30 p.m.

This is important as the next few months, the LBPSB will be very busy with Major School Change, Labour Relations and a most-welcome School Board Reform.

Given those facts, it is the responsibility of the Chairperson to see to it that timely agendas are made available to the taxpaying public."

About an hour or so later, an Agenda was posted, but it was apparent that it was sloppily put together because three agenda items listed "R.T. Mills" as the speaker. About three hours later, the name of the new director-general "M. Chechile" finally appeared. (Incidentally, the Exec. Comm. agenda of July 6 still lists three times "R. T. Mills" as a speaker. He was not; he retired).

Here are other examples of the disarray that exist at the Lester. B. Pearson School Board.

Agenda item 4.0 lists as ‘Information’ - “Cheque Disbursements Over $ 10,000.”

Parent Commissioner Mike Nalecz basically said that for the "past two years" this item was never clear to him because of the different ways the amounts are reported.

On another agenda item dealing with monetary matters, vice-chairman of the Executive Committee Craig Berger, a long-time commissioner and lawyer by profession, said that he was confused with the number of Pearson committees.

I was strongly reminded of long-time vice-chairperson, Angela Nolet, who also ran for chairman in last November's Pearson school elections. On the Central Parents Committee website, she wrote, "the school board budget is not even that transparent to the commissioners!"

At the "Questions from the Public" time, I rose to speak but Chairman Martin Sherman, following Madame Stein Day's orders, attempted to stop me. Regardless, I spoke anyway on two issues.

The first dealt with the fact that the Board did not list me in the 'Minutes' as being present for any of the 2015 Executive Committee meetings. Apparently, it's being handled.

The second, and by far more serious, is communicating with the Central Parents Committee (CPC) by email. There is something definitely amiss.

The Quebec Education Act considers the CPC as a necessary body. The upcoming reform of school board governance by Education Minister François Blais treats parents as the base to the whole reform. Communication is of utmost importance.

Without going to specific details, in this letter, I attempted, just prior to the Exec. meeting to communicate with the CPC, using four (4) different CPC email addresses. They bounced.

At the meeting, in the presence of all, I gave François Hamel, school board lawyer all written documentation. The matter is being investigated.

Chris Eustace

Pierrefonds

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