The School Board is a mess, and it’s our fault

School District 43 Coquitlam

So let’s start with the thesis the School District 43 school board is a complete mess. Last year the district ended up with an $8 million dollar deficit, which led to around 142 job losses for teachers and support staff. KPMG came to the conclusion that the leadership of the school district could use someone who knows something about accounting. In the wake of this, the Tri-City News this week talked to Dave Ginter, who is the president of Local 561 of CUPE. He too is concerned about this situation. But instead of putting his faith in the democratic process, here’s how he put it…

“Obviously, the chore I have is to find new trustees,” Ginter said.

The longtime union head said he already has interviews set up with six potential Coquitlam trustee candidates but he wouldn’t name them. But he said many come with experience in their school parent advisory councils or have attended school board meetings recently.

Once Dave finds his new trustees, they get $3,000 in union cash and will be “asked to undergo some political training.” The article continues…

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Ginter revealed that even he considered running for school trustee until he realized that it’s time for new blood. He hinted that he may retire after November if he’s successful in completing his “chore.”

Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it’s not up to CUPE to appoint our school board. But it’s not the incredible arrogance of this stance that is the most disturbing. It’s not that school board candidates will get their marching orders from CUPE in the form of “political training”. It’s not that CUPE has continued to endorse Trustee Gail Alty, who collects a cheque in the Tri-Cities and LIVES IN SOOKE. No, the most galling part of this whole thing, is that Dave Ginter is absolutely right. He does appoint the school board. With CUPE endorsement for school board or city council, you’re often as good as elected. Only one union endorsed candidate, Bob Lee in Port Coquitlam, failed to get a seat in the 2011 civic election.

The reason this is true is incredible voter apathy. 12,116 votes represents the top vote getter on school board with only a couple actual races, and voters choose multiple candidates. There are over 30,000 students in SD 43. Even if just the parents got off their asses and actually voted in November, it would represent a massive increase in turnout. The parents of kids who were directly affected by the loss of 142 jobs and $12.1 million in cuts. Then we wouldn’t have to leave this “chore” up to CUPE.

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  1. I’ve literally sat in School Board meetings and Seen a Trustee Fall asleep. . . on two occasions. I don’t mean dosing off, I mean a full blown head-hit-the-table kind of thing; without waking up.

    Good or Bad, Ginter is brining some of this staunch incompetency to light. . Besides the local papers, these behaviours have totally slipped past the limelight. Its absolutely sick that they let these idot (Trustee’s) manage a 300 million dollar budget.

    It’s about time the Provincial Government step in and abolish these kangaroo-court School Boards.

  2. People who think Big Union doesn’t run City Council’s, School Boards, and every other “democratically elected” group are fooling themselves. The unions have an agenda; by holding kids hostage, in cohort with the villainous BCTF, voters are powerless to do anything because they know the kids will suffer if anyone tries to overthrow them.

    The unions get city councillors elected, who then, to return the favor, vote for higher staff salaries.

    Schools in the Tri-City’s need new playgrounds. Parents are volunteering to help but are told they can’t because of “union regulations”. There may be lots of people standing around doing nothing, by by-golly, those will be $40+ per hour union workers standing there…and we pay for it.

    The only way to achieve a fair and equal society is to abolish the unions. The current situation makes me pray for the return of Pinkerton’s.