Keep a close eye on new board of education

The job of trustees is to co-govern the district with the government.

Editor: I found the letter to the editor from B. McCloy (www.langleytimes.com, Nov. 17) lopsided in his perception of me. Perhaps it is because to date, he and I have not agreed on much, if anything.

He felt it was his obligation to clear up some misconceptions about me and my leadership abilities, which Hattie Hogeterp had commented on in an earlier letter to the editor.  McCloy states she was an outsider during the H.D. Stafford/Langley Secondary transition and French Immersion discussions at LSS.

She was a sitting board member at the time, and certainly not an outsider. Despite his interpretations of how I performed, I worked hard for LSS at creating a smooth transition between LSS and HDS. but it was not what some HDS parents wanted, and so the smooth transition did not happen.

He goes on to say that I did not support the LSS group that wanted to keep French Immersion there. He does not, however, mention that enrolment into our French Immersion program amounted to eight students. Nor did he mention that at the request of a larger number of parents, what I fought for and received was a grandfathering clause so that all students who were currently enrolled in French Immersion would be able to complete that program and graduate from LSS.

Two years prior, I was on the team that fought successfully to keep the program but we were told at the time, registration numbers would have to increase substantially for the program to survive. They did not increase.  As PAC president my obligations were to the parents and students who were already attending the school.

He says that I disappeared after that, “never to be seen again.”  Not true. I remained on the PAC as a member at large and past president, I ran the Haunted House, and I was co-chair of my daughter’s dry grad committee. I also continued to attend all school events, including the unveiling of the beautiful mural that adorns the west wall of the gym.

For years, parent volunteer Cindy Barwin doggedly raised funds for a school beautification project, and as her third child was about to graduate from LSS she finally had raised enough money to hire an artist to paint the mural. On the celebratory day of the unveiling, although all PAC members were invited to attend, only myself and one other former LSS PAC member were there to acknowledge her success and the culmination of all those years of hard work and effort.

My participation with LSS ended when my daughter graduated, except for my seeing through the completion of the display case that now sits in the main foyer.  I have continued to attend board meetings and have run for school board as an independent in the past two elections. I was not elected, as all the positions were either filled with incumbents or union-endorsed candidates.  I certainly have not disappeared.

He also mentions the endorsement from the last election, in which I was supported by Rich Coleman and Mary Polak.  These are the people who have awarded us three new schools, in part because of the relationship with our previous board and with our superintendent. I for one am proud of this association, as it was one that also came without any ties or promises.

The job of trustees is to co-govern the district with the government, and we were a group of people who would work together to benefit students. Union endorsements benefit unions. I am very interested to see how the next three years unfold, now that five of our seven trustees were elected on a union slate.

My guess is that repayment of the deficit will run its full term. Rather than close the under-populated schools, they’ll cancel programs, which mean schools that are subsidizing the under-enrolled schools will be the ones paying the price. They will also be the ones to carry the larger class sizes, while the subsidized schools will not.

I will also be curious to see if there are any changes in our senior management team and in particular to our superintendent, based on the fact that Megan Dykeman and Candy Ashdown, while executive members of DPAC already tried challenging Cheryle Beaumont’s role in our district.

Mixed in with that are Wendy Johnson and Rob McFarlane, who fought the reconfiguration of H.D. Stafford; add Cecelia Reekie, the fifth union slate member, and you have the number of people required to oust our superintendent.

I truly hope that does not happen, for the sake of our district and our students. We will see what this new year brings.

Kari Medos,

Langley