Please copy and paste this message into an email addressed to the Trustees below.
Board of Trustees
- Jordan Watters – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Diane McNally – email@example.com
- Nicole Duncan – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tom Ferris – email@example.com
- Angie Hentze – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Elaine Leonard – email@example.com
- Ryan Painter – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rob Paynter – email@example.com
- Ann Whiteaker – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Budget specific email: email@example.com
- Superintendent of Schools: Shelley Green – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Secretary-Treasurer: Kim Morris – email@example.com
- Deputy Superintendent of Schools Deb Whitten – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Associate Superintendent: Harold Caldwell – email@example.com
Dear [Insert Name],
I have signed the pledge to only support trustees who vote against the proposed budget as it stands. Many of you have political ambitions beyond this term as a district trustee and you should know I will not support the careers of those who do not support our community.
Trustees are to act as representatives of their community and our community resoundingly responded negatively to the proposed cuts. Hundreds of letters were sent, along with weekly protests across the district featuring students, parents, and concerned community members. We have shown an overwhelming support for maintaining music education at current levels—Indigenous drumming, elementary strings, and full middle school band, choir, strings (not the paltry 37% offered on April 26).
On May 10, when motions were put forward to do a budget reset or to contact the Minister of Education to ask permission to carry a deficit, both were voted down. These are two actions the public has been requesting.
Trustees are financial stewards and have important responsibilities for oversight of school district financial decisions. Trustees don’t have to be certified accountants, but they have to understand budgets, and are required to put the needs of the students first, ask hard questions, and demand better. Why do we have trustees if they are going to indiscriminately support everything from the office of the superintendent? We are not asking you to be antagonistic, but to question, be inquisitive, and to be creative with solutions. Why be a trustee if you are not willing to do so.
We are concerned at the lack of genuine consultation. Parents and students have sent letters with no response, have asked questions at meetings where there were no answers given, and were sent two rushed versions of harmful, and consequently useless, surveys and have yet to see their results. There has been no conversation, just two sides talking at each other. We feel dismissed and discouraged. This is neither effective nor in the best interests of the children or our community.
Reading Recovery is going to be taken away because it’s not in all the schools, and yet it’s by far the most effective early literacy program available for struggling young readers. The strings program, which has been part of our city’s culture for over a century is on the chopping block partially because other school districts don’t have strings programs. This is a warped way of trying to be equitable.
I will take this pledge very seriously. If the budget is passed with any cuts to music programs or other student services, I will not vote for that person, at any level of government.
Trustees, it is not too late. The rush to get those surveys out created harm. The rush to get this budget approved without proper consultation has left us without confidence in financial propositions, and I believe that this proposed budget will cause irrevocable harm. We urge you to take your time and do a thorough job. Delay the vote. Ask for more money. Look for creative solutions. Talk with, not at, parents and stakeholders. Be leaders. Now, after this incredibly difficult pandemic year, is NOT the time to make these cuts.