Time has come to cut school trustee numbers

Cutting the size of the school board in the Cowichan Valley is an idea whose time has come.

It’s not a matter of money. School trustees get paid a pittance – mere pennies in the $80-million district budget.

Cutting the number of trustees will not pay to keep a school open or put more educational assistants in the classrooms.

But it may help to ease decision-making around the board table.

The number of trustees is a remnant of a ward system that was once in place that had those elected specifically representing various areas. That ward system has been defunct for some years, but the number of trustees did not change.

Now, the provincial education minister can choose to stick with the nine trustees that have traditionally made up the board, or change that number to seven or five.

Seven trustees would put the board on par with Duncan and North Cowichan councils (six councillors and a mayor).

The district has been running for two years with only one, provincially appointed trustee, as the elected board was fired in July of 2012 for failing to submit a balanced budget.

A more desirable number would be somewhere in between the one and the nine.

It is anti-democratic to have only one, non-elected person from out of town running the show, no matter how fair he has tried to be.

A benevolent dictator is still a dictator, and there’s always the risk that the next guy – over whose appointment you have no say – will be less benevolent.

Decisions for this school district should remain in the hands of the people who live here, and we do that by electing people to represent us in making those decisions.

Having nine trustees, however, has not brought a myriad of different opinions, only a sometimes tired repetition. What’s the magic number? Too many, and things begin to get unwieldy and bogged down.

Too few and there’s not enough people to do the work and connect with all of the district’s schools.

While we would not be unhappy with seven our vote is for five.

Look for the Citizen’s salute to Valley grads

Beginning Friday, be sure to look for a new Cowichan Valley Citizen feature recognizing our region’s 2014 graduates.

Each edition of the paper will feature the graduates from one of the schools here in the Cowichan Valley.

Graduating from high school is a big accomplishment, and we and our advertisers will be recognizing the milestone reached by these hard working youths in our community. We salute our next generation of Valley leaders.