DPAC Chair Morgane Oger submitted her leave of absence notice to us a few days ago. Here's her letter to you, the parents.
Dear Vancouver parents,
I am writing you today to share with you that I will be taking a leave of absence from the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Counci executiv (DPAC) effective Tuesday 15 November in order to seek public office in the 2017 provincial election.
I am taking this leave because I am now the only candidate for nomination by the BC NDP to run as the candidate for Vancouver - False Creek in the upcoming 2017 provincial election. Nathan Wilkes, the DPAC vice-chair and now acting chair, will fulfill my duties during by absence as DPAC chair.
The DPAC constitution requires that any member of our executive who is nominated as a candidate for public office must take a leave of absence until the election and must resign if elected. I feel that this is the appropriate time to step aside.
I will be continuing my work advocating for sustained excellence in public education and will remain active in DPAC as an engaged parent. If elected, I look forward to working with parents, labour, and elected officials to ensure our children receive the best education possible and that the province adequately fund the operating and capital costs of education in an effective and equitable learning environment.
I had previously notified the elected trustees, and my DPAC colleagues about this eventuality in order to assure a smooth transition and DPAC is in good hands as I withdraw. The official trustee was notified a few days ago. I have pledged to remain at the disposal of the DPAC executive at their discretion and advise them as needed. I look forward to seeing DPAC continue to lead in advocating for the appropriate funding for the equitable delivery of education to the 50,000 students enrolled in Vancouver Schools.
As the only legally mandated and elected voice representing parents in Vancouver after the recent appointment of the Official Trustee, DPAC has an especially important role to play this year in order to ensure that Vancouver’s children get the education we rely on Government to provide for them, both as taxpayers who fund education and as parents whose children consume it. The Vancouver Board of Education is required to consult with DPAC. When I was nominated to the DPAC executive in 2014 by False Creek Elementary, this executive was paralyzed due to a deep crisis within the team. After two rounds of mediation failed the chair resigned, publishing deeply-damaging public accusations that took more than a year of sustained effort to finally put to rest as baseless.
Today this executive is functional, effective, and credible. Our reputation as speaking for parents with fact-based arguments is formidable and we have accomplished important things together with parents and public education advocacy groups throughout BC. We have held city-wide parent training events, all-candidate meetings, spoken for parents on all VSB committees, and testified to the BC Government about public education funding.
It has been a privilege to be able to work with everyone I have had the chance to meet and I am very proud of the work of our executive during my time at DPAC. In spite of the deeply stressful situation involving the school closures, the process brought parents and stakeholders together and we made ourselves heard. Elected decision makers listened to us and acted appropriately.
Working together, we successfully halted unfair cuts and damaging school closures affecting over 3,000 children.
We advocated for the need to preserve and support the Aboriginal Focus School when it faced possible closure. We assisted a number of PACs deal with internal issues. We helped lay the groundwork for equal protection of all kids in BC schools. We protected vulnerable students in a number of schools. We successfully advocated for the saving of key programs. We organized parents and helped dozens learn effective public-policy advocacy and organizing. We trained a cohort of PAC leaders.
We don't yet have the level of funding we seek for our children’s education, but Vancouver parents are well positioned to help make that come to bear.
In closing, please do not hesitate to bring up issues to your DPAC representative or to the DPAC acting chair. DPAC is here to support, serve, and advocate FOR parents. You are never alone.
Wishing you the very best,