Ending School Board Secrecy
The current Waterloo Region District School Board trustees are, apparently, afraid of public scrutiny. They prefer to make decisions behind closed doors and do not seem interested in any public input.
How else can you explain the actions of the Board’s Agenda committee last night? I was disgusted to read in the Record this morning that the public and the media were barred from the meeting where the “transportation issue” was discussed.
Public school board trustees kept the public out of a meeting Monday in which they agreed to hear a motion to restore school busing to hundreds of students.
Trustees on the agenda development committee of the Waterloo Region District School Board decided the proposal from Cambridge trustee Cindy Watson would get a hearing Nov. 8.
But they had that closed-door discussion in apparent contradiction of the Education Act, denying The Record the right to be in the committee room while they discussed the matter.
When asked the reason for closing the meeting to the public, education director Linda Fabi said this particular committee has traditionally not been open to the public.
You can read the full Record article here: http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/786354
I am firm believer in absolute transparency for public institutions. Not only should all Board meetings be open to the public (with the noted exceptions) but there is no reason that Board meetings couldn’t be broadcast live via the Board website. The technology exists and it would cost virtually nothing to implement. This small measure of transparency would allow parents and teachers – the two greatest stakeholder groups – to better understand and evaluate the actions of their own Board.
I commit, therefore, to push for live webcasting of all meetings of the Waterloo Region District School Board and its committees.
Update: The chair of the Board, Mike Ramsay, apologized to the Record for barring a reporter from what should have been an open meeting. I believe that this incident is an indication of a culture of secrecy at the Board – it should not require a public embarrassment to convince the trustees to open the door to their decision-making.
On October 25th you have the opportunity to have a say in the future of your school board. I ask for your support. To make sure you are on the voter’s list and to find out where to vote, please visit this page: http://cambridgepublicschools.ca/on-the-list/