Perspectives is an opportunity for Fellows and others to share their ideas in short, accessible essays. IPE/BC Fellows hold a range of views and interests relative to public education.
Do school board elections matter?
September 19, 2022
By Patti Bacchus
Unfortunately, many B.C. school boards are moving away from that model with increasingly restrictive codes of conduct that limit trustees from speaking out and engaging with those they’re elected to serve. Many have erected rigid barriers that discourage and restrict public participation. Too many take direction from their management teams, instead of the reverse. Far too much of the public’s business —and school board business is the public’s business — happens behind closed doors or in private emails instead of in public meetings, where it belongs.
If they want to matter to the public, school boards need to give themselves a hard shake and decide whether they want to do the important work of transparently representing the public in decision-making, or keep fussing about each other’s decorum or conduct as they head down the road to extinction.
What do school boards do?
School boards have a co-governance relationship with the provincial government over the public education system. Curriculum is set provincially, and decisions about class sizes are negotiated at the provincial level. The B.C. School Act broadly states school boards are “responsible for improvement of student achievement in the school district.”
Who can be a school trustee?