October 18th 2016,
DPAC Statement regarding the dismissal of the Vancouver School Board:
Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) is the voice for the parents and guardians of children in the Vancouver School District.
DPAC is very disappointed by the dismissal of the Vancouver Board of Education. We have lost our democratically elected representation as citizens and residents of Vancouver. While we recognize there were problems plaguing the VSB, we believe that parents, students and the community at large are best served by locally elected trustees.
Our primary focus as parents remains the education our children receive, despite the tumultuous times and difficult road ahead for the VSB. At this time we are experiencing the harsh realities of the deep cuts that last spring’s budget brought about along with further potential cuts to next year’s program. It is a deep shame, in a province of plenty, that many of our students are going without programs and services that they so desperately need. We continue to advocate for fully funded, robust public education for all children and youth. We also want to see safety as a very high priority, so seismic upgrading is one of our highest priorities.
We hope to meet with the new administrator at our upcoming DPAC meeting.
The dismissal of the trustees has brought to the fore the urgent need for the completion and public release, to the greatest possible extent, of the WorkSafe BC report. It has also raised the need for more actions regarding the issues of increased seismic and operational funding, both garnered and supported,.
As parents we are concerned about teachers’ ability to deliver quality educational services to our children in such an uncertain climate. These concerns are particularly true for parents whose children are attending schools which have not yet undergone seismic mitigation or where necessary programs have been cut.
DPAC remains a non-partisan body in this discourse, but we urge parents to write to their MLAs, to Minister Bernier, and to Premier Clark to express their concerns about the erosion of our democracy, to demand safe schools and stable, predictable, and sufficient funding for school boards, and, most importantly, to stop using our children as political tools.