Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Secret #24: Trustees need to be able to keep secrets

As much as many people might believe that all the business of public bodies, like school boards, should be done in public, that's not possible.

The Edmonton Public School Board, like all school boards, has regular closed sessions to deal with matters that require confidential consideration.  In our district, these meetings are known as Conference Committee meetings, and are simply closed meetings of the Board and it's senior officials.  An important piece of provincial legislation that guides our work in these areas is the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act( FOIPP).  Generally, the guideline for the business that is appropriate to be dealt with in closed meetings is: land, legal, or labour issues.  The "legal" category includes cases of employee or student discipline, and all matters where the Board needs to have the confidential advice of legal counsel and/or the Superintendent.   Once these matters have been decided, Trustees are obliged to keep the proceedings, and the decisions, confidential.  Violating these confidences will quickly lead to Board dysfunction, and other serious consequences. 

Election News

The Association for Responsive Trusteeship in Edmonton Schools( ARTES) has released a "report card" on each of the candidates standing for election to the Edmonton Public School Board.  To review the "report cards" yourself, click here.

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