Public meetings vs Private meetings

There is an expectation, outlined in the School Act,  that School boards meeting in public and conduct their business in public. But a snap shot of the CBE minutes from February show that isn’t the case with Calgary’s public board – at least that month.

If you look at just February of this year, our trustees met in private for a total of 4 hours, 37 minutes. They met in public for two hours and 26 minutes. So, twice as much private time as public time in one month alone.

(This does not include any “informal” board meeting time such as trustee “work sessions” that are held every week.)

The Edmonton Public School Board recently amended their policy on what can be discussed at private or in-Camera meetings. The goal was to remove any flexibility the board may have and limit all in-camera discussions to Land, Legal, and Labour matters.

The Calgary Board of Education does have any such policy. They don’t refer to public vs private in their governance documents.

It is interesting to watch the Edmonton Public board debate on the topic. Clearly, this school board is committed to doing its business in public. You can watch it on their web log of board meetings.

If you’re wondering what CBE trustees are discussing in private, below you’ll find a list.  Each month, we’ll try to provide a wrap up of private meeting time versus public time and we’ll include a list of topics discussed in private. (As far as we can tell because there are no agendas and only items with public motions will make the minutes.)

March 1 Board Meeting:

Public Meeting time: 5 to 7: 54 p.m. with a nine-minute recess. (165 min)

Private meeting time: 8:07 p.m. to 9:44 p.m. (

Private topics: In this over 90 minute session, the board wrote a letter to the minister of education about the impact of recent budget cuts on the CBE. As well, they approved a report on the Chief Superintendent’s remuneration.

Feb. 22 Board Meeting

Duration of Private Meeting: 3 p.m. to 5:55 p.m with a 10 min recess (165 min)

In this three hour meeting, trustees approved salaries/contracts for exempt employees, the trustee liaison report for Education Matters, real estate listing for Albert Park School, adding four modular classes to David Thompson School, Labour Relations Update, operating costs of $1,169,000 for the new Education Centre  and $189,000 for the Dr. Carl  Safran Centre, awarding of contracts for the Career and Technology Centre at Lord Shaughnessy with a revised budget of $9.57 million, new electricity contract, Telus lease agreement for WH Cushing Workplace School, eight new modular classrooms for McKenzie Town School, Ministerial Approval for re-location of Westmount Charter School to William Van Horne and Parkdale Schools,

Feb. 15 Board Meeting

Public meeting time: 5 to 6:34 p.m. (94 min)  Private Meeting time: 6:48 to 8:40 p.m. (112 min)

Topics: Audit committee minutes etc.

Feb. 1 Board Meeting

Public Meeting Time: 5 to 5:52 p.m. (52 min)

 

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