Thursday, October 7, 2010

Secret #18: Maintain an ongoing dialogue with your MLAs and City Councillors

Hold regular meetings with the other levels of government

An important part of a school board's work is to liaise with their counterparts in the Provincial and City governments.  This may seem like a no-brainer, but keep in mind that these folks all have demanding schedules and no one likes to go to yet one more meeting unless it is likely to be productive and lead to something of consequence.

When the Edmonton Public School Board closed 5 schools this year, with the prospect of more closures on the horizon, there seemed to be the critical mass necessary to prompt the 3 levels of government to come together recently and talk about what alternatives there may be to closures.  While schools are the primary responsibility of school boards, everyone knows that the local school is often the heart of a neighbourhood and often hosts a variety of other services and activities from sports to day care to community meetings.  A school closure affects more than just students.

In addition to these larger meetings with all the elected officials, the School Board Chair will often be in contact with the Mayor and the Minister of Education.  Individual trustees will often meet with the MLA(s) and City Councillor(s) whose districts overlap to keep each other informed about emerging issues.

These are important relationships that need to be nurtured in order to ensure maximum co-operative effort on behalf of our common constituents.

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