In search of candidates for school trustee

by Andru McCracken


Photo courtesy of www.visitmcbride.ca

The Robson Valley just won the right to have a representative on the School District 57 Board of Education, but will anyone fill it?

MLA Shirley Bond, our provincial representative to the Legislature, asked the question at the end of a recent breakfast meeting in Valemount.

“I sure hope we get some good candidates,” said Bond.

When the Goat enquired with school principals, local officials and likely candidates, so far, no one has said they would be willing to run for the position.

From the BC School Trustee Association, here are some things to think about when considering the position.

Am I up to the job? 

Trustee candidates do not need to have a background in public education. However, the following skills and experience would be assets for potential trustee candidates and will be developed throughout a trustee’s tenure.

They should have an understanding official meeting procedures and school district governance policies. Candidates should review a copy of their board’s bylaws, governance policies and codes of conduct.

Candidates may wish to attend their local school board meetings or speak to existing board members to get an understanding of the process.

They should have an awareness of the legal, political and legislative parameters in which school boards operate Board operations are often highly prescribed by legislation or provincial policy.

In executing their duties, trustees will develop an understanding of the legislative process, the structure and relevant provisions of school legislation (especially the School Act), government policy, and board policy.

Financial Literacy 

Financial oversight of a school district is complex work that requires trustees to be able to interpret financial statements, information and data, ask the right questions, and ultimately govern the financial, business and capital decisions of their school district.  Trustees, through the BCSTA, will be provided with the support necessary to fulfill their financial oversight responsibilities.

Willingness to learn

The board has the responsibility to competently protect the interests, image and credibility of the school district, to ensure its financial viability and to act in accordance with all applicable laws and board policies governing the board and its actions.

These are significant and complex responsibilities that entail trustees acquiring education sector knowledge and skills to deal with the required range of information and decisions effectively, and to exercise appropriate oversight and accountabilities to protect the interests of students, families and the broader community.

BCSTA offers many services (bit.ly/bcstamemberbenefits) that will help prepare boards to carry out their governance and accountability responsibilities.

BCSTA legal services, communications, professional development events, facilitations, in-district training sessions, online learning opportunities, and governance manuals are available to help trustees with their work.

Remuneration

Each board determines how trustees on the board will be remunerated. In School District 57, trustees are paid $18,200 per year.

Time commitment 

It is not uncommon for a trustee to spend an average of 15 hours per week on all the activities associated with the role, including:

  • Preparing for and attending board meetings and committee meetings
  • Attending community meetings as a representative of the school board
  • Attending BCSTA Annual General Meetings
  • Responding to the concerns of parents and other community members
  • Responding to telephone calls or e-mails, meeting requests and queries from parents or members of the community as a member of the board.

For even more see:

bcsta.org

Did you know the Goat could not operate without people buying the newspaper? Subscribe today!