(Haida Gwaii Observer/File photo)

New school board aims to boost transparency

Records of Haida Gwaii school board meetings will once again show which trustee brought up a new motion for a vote.

At the first meeting of Haida Gwaii’s newly elected school board last Tuesday, trustees also decided that minutes for the Haida Gwaii school board will now include a brief summary of all discussions.

“We do obviously have a desire to get that information out to people,” said Roeland Denooij, a trustee and chair of the Haida Gwaii school board.

“Especially if you can’t make the meeting, it’s basically the only way you have to get that information.”

The school board also hopes to stream future board meetings online using the schools’ new videoconferencing systems, and to return to a practice of publishing meeting minutes within a month.

Two years ago, the former Haida Gwaii school board voted to stop recording which trustee presented or opposed a motion at a board meetings, but simply list whether the motion passed or not.

At the time, then Superintendent Dawna Day said the board really wanted to stick to process, and Robert’s Rules of Order.

But according to the latest edition of Robert’s Rules, minutes of public meetings generally do name the person who brings a motion forward.

The Prince Rupert, Coast Mountain, Nisga’a, Stikine, and Bulkley Valley school districts all do so, though several other school districts only record the vote result.

Speaking at the Nov. 27 school board meeting, Kris Olsen, the newly elected mayor of Queen Charlotte, welcomed the move toward greater transparency.

“I appreciate that a lot,” Olsen said, noting how hard it was during his nine years as a village councillor to look back and see how former councils decided on things.

“It provides that written history for people to look back upon and see how decisions are made.”

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