Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Julie Ali · University of Alberta Greg Caso-G I have heard this chatter for ages that we need to pay to get the best. Yeah right. Why don't we try lowering salaries across the board and simply doing with less talent and see if the system implodes? We have so many bureaucrats doing nothing and to add to this lack of work a system of yet more political hires in the 61 school boards is just another money pit. We are not underfunded for health and education. We are funded sufficiently to meet the needs of the citizens. What's happening is the top echelon such as the CEO for Covenant Health being paid major bucks that ultimately come from our tax dollars and for what? I don't know. What does the CEO of Covenant Health do for the hefty pay he gets? I would rather his salary go to pay for another couple of doctors. Underfunding my foot. If you look at the amount of money spent in AHS for the executive staff you would know where the money is going. And what are we getting for their work? Poor results.

http://calgaryherald.com/news/politics/braid-calgary-board-of-education-deserves-its-provincial-investigation?fb_comment_id=fbc_1571068059578416_1571207322897823_1571207322897823#f121e01cd4b7f4

Braid: Calgary Board of Education deserves its provincial investigation

Published on: June 12, 2017 | Last Updated: June 13, 2017 10:59 AM MDT
Calgary Board of Education offices building.
Calgary Board of Education offices building. GAVIN YOUNG / POSTMEDIA
The NDP government doesn’t seem to have any malice toward the Calgary Board of Education. Mystification is the main reaction. It’s shared by a great many Calgarians.
The province will send a team into the board offices in August to investigate finances. The probe might continue right through the October election for new trustees, depending on what’s uncovered when the experts peel back this bloated onion.
The decision to investigate was approved right after the board waved a red flag at Education Minister David Eggen.
“If the minister is concerned with any aspect of our plan, then he needs to make that clear to us, and if he plans on changing any part of our plan, then he needs to provide funding in order to make those changes,” said CBE vice-chair Trina Hurdman.
She was talking about Eggen’s criticism of $700 busing fees for students attending alternative programs.
The statement was, any way you read it, both a challenge and an order to Eggen.
CBE Board of Trustees Chair Joy Bowen-Eyre (C) and vice chair Trina Hurdman (L) speak at a press conference in Calgary on Thursday June 8, 2017 and address the CBEÕs plan for transportation service for the 2017-18 school year. Jim Wells/Postmedia JIM WELLS / POSTMEDIA
The New Democrats were furious. They wonder about a number of things, quite apart from the board’s habitual arrogance and undemocratic nature.
The CBE is the only board in the province that has a big problem with budgets. There are modest issues in some areas — deficits of $1 million to $3 million — but only the CBE has a whacking shortfall of $38 million. And, yet, it’s receiving $54 million more this year alone.
And why is it that the Calgary Catholic School Division, half the size of the public board, needs only $2 million to ease school fees, while the CBE gobbles up $18 million — and then demands more?
The government is understandably mystified; also, deeply annoyed.
So the accountants will arrive for what is now billed by both sides, with frozen smiles, as a friendly collaboration.
One thing is already clear: The CBE is in no position to make demands. The trustees can’t even complain about a provincial attack on an elected body, since they serve no useful democratic function.
The CBE that boasts of  “transparency” once held public consultations after officials had already imposed changes to bus routes.
Trustees are elected every four years to represent city wards, but they rarely voice an opinion independent of a board decision. If fact, they’re forbidden to do that.
Former CBE trustee Sheila Taylor. LYLE ASPINALL / POSTMEDIA
When former trustee and chair Sheila Taylor tried to speak out early in her tenure, she was chastised by officials, and even told she was in legal conflict of interest for voting on school fees.
Because she was a parent. On a school board.
This board once threatened to cut teaching positions while holding lavish dinners for officials. In 2014, a “leadership” gathering at Willow Park Golf and Country Club cost more than $2,000.
The board spent $573 on coffee, drinks and muffins for a four-hour meeting to discuss . . . the budget.
The government isn’t yet flagging radical action like the 1999 firing of the entire board by Lyle Oberg, then the PC education minister. The consequences, if any, will depend on what the investigation uncovers.
Meanwhile, let us close with a parable about the perils of arrogance in public life.
There once was a young education reporter with Metro, Jeremy Nolais, who wrote about a secret vote to delay release of a financial report.
The next day, he got a surprising phone call from six trustees — the whole crew, except for the board chair.
They proceeded to ream him out, when they weren’t arguing with each other.

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They demanded to know his sources. Joy Bowen-Eyre, now the board chair, said Nolais’ job was to be “like the eighth trustee” — that is, a loyal representative of the board.
Nolais recorded the whole extended conversation. Metro published the audio and a written transcript.
The board members apologized, but not before their true feelings about “transparency” had been vividly revealed.
The NDP won the election a year later. Nolais left Metro to become Eggen’s communications adviser.
Before long, he rose to become the minister’s chief of staff. Not yet 30, he was dealing with policy and implementation.
When the phone rings in the CBE board office today, it’s quite likely to be Jeremy Nolais saying, “having a good day, are we? Let’s take a look at those books.”
This is karma on a grand scale. No public body deserves it more.
Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald
dbraid@postmedia.com
Twiter: @DonBraid



Julie Ali · 
The school trustees serve no useful purpose and the school board system simply serves as a free way to gain public identification and preparatory training for higher level political positions. If the school trustees must be retained for the sake of bureaucracy then a single education superboard would be sufficient. Salaries of school superintendents need to also decline so that more front line staff can be hired, Money saved could go to services and supports for children with disabilities.

The entire education system needs overhauling including the massive waste of money on the top echelon at universities.
http://globalnews.ca/.../big-salaries-at-albertas-two.../

Nine people were paid more than $500,000 in 2015, including a vice dean, chair, vice president and several professors. Verna Yiu received $601,771 in compensation while Samarasekera received $546,236 in “compensation” and $37,938 in “other.”
LikeReply6Jun 12, 2017 8:06pm
Greg Caso-G · 
Yes, let's make positions in education even more desireable by reducing salaries, and while we're at it, we should also increase workload and take away any perks and benefits as well..... That way, we can be sure to get the best and brightest in to teach our future citizens and workforce!
LikeReply211 hrs
Julie Ali · 
Greg Caso-G Did you read my post? I said let us decrease the salaries of the top echelon who do nothing productive in my opinion. We want good teachers and teacher's aides.We want more bright front line staff.
I don't believe the superintendents and other executive staff should be getting the salaries they are earning; I believe this money should go to the teachers.
Also I believe we have too many superintendents doing what exactly? This is the unacceptable set up that needs questioning by citizens:
http://calgaryherald.com/.../secret-pay-hikes-for-top...

Minutes of a Palliser Regional Schools board meeting in June 2014 show trustees decided to pay superintendent Kevin Gietz and some of his head office associates thousands of dollars more each year even though the board was forecasting it would run a $1.5-million deficit and facing pointed questions from parents about administration spending.
LikeReply111 hrs
Dave Fryett
I completely disagree the assertion that school boards serve no useful purpose. Are you seriously suggesting that provincial governments should directly run education? We already have problems with too much political interference in education, this audit being a good example. There is already far too much political indoctrination going on in the school system, it is going to get a lot worse with the NDP rewrite of the cirriculum to promote their political ideology. While I agree some of the top salaries have gotten too expensive and there are reforms needed including reductions and caps on salaries. There is a lot of good work done on the school boards. Separating the school boards from government gives far better transparency than having one over reaching, over bearing provincial government in charge of everything. We need a lot less provincial government, not more of it. Look at the mess the provincial governments make of centralized health care.
LikeReply110 hrs
Greg Caso-G · 
We need the best people in all positions top-down throughout education, health care and gov't in general.... Making those positions less desireable by reducing salaries, benefits or perks will only result in the talented/motivated people who are currently in them to leave and for there to be little to no motivation for anyone to want to take on the massive responsibility and time commitment required to do them well.....

Education, health care, social programs and other gov't funded entities are underfunded and this is mainly due to the economic issues in Alberta over the last couple of years. The main focus of the current provincial gov't should be getting the economy back on track, not spending valuable resources on 'audits' and trying to start environmental initiatives. Programs and services that are funded by the gov't need tax dollars to work well, and tax dollars come from a healthy and growing economy.
LikeReply110 hrs
Julie Ali · 
Dave Fryett I disagree with you. I have sat in on the Edmonton Public School Board meetings. I have seen no productive work done by the school board trustees. Certainly there is a need for administration but this could be done by a superboard of trustees, eliminating the need for fluffy workers that currently don't give me value for my money.
A superboard would still provide direction and supervision but I see no reason for us to pay for 61 school boards and 61 superintendents. We could direct the funds to the need in the system which is for students with disabilities. It's ridiculous to have so much bureaucracy. A superboard would reduce the costs for us as well as eliminate the need for the GOA to increase bureaucracy at Alberta Education.
LikeReply3 hrs
Julie Ali · 
Greg Caso-G I have heard this chatter for ages that we need to pay to get the best. Yeah right. Why don't we try lowering salaries across the board and simply doing with less talent and see if the system implodes?
We have so many bureaucrats doing nothing and to add to this lack of work a system of yet more political hires in the 61 school boards is just another money pit.
We are not underfunded for health and education. We are funded sufficiently to meet the needs of the citizens. What's happening is the top echelon such as the CEO for Covenant Health being paid major bucks that ultimately come from our tax dollars and for what? I don't know. What does the CEO of Covenant Health do for the hefty pay he gets? I would rather his salary go to pay for another couple of doctors.

Underfunding my foot. If you look at the amount of money spent in AHS for the executive staff you would know where the money is going. And what are we getting for their work? Poor results.
LikeReply3 hrs
Greg Caso-G · 
It's not chatter, if you're hearing it, it's for a reason.... Your complaints about bureacracy are evidence of your bias against social organization.... ie. government and organizaitonal systems. Perhaps your an anarchist, but that attitude doesn't fit well with how the majority of Albertans and Canadians feel. I think we have great systems of government, education and health care and we should be appreciative of that. Can they be made better? Of course, but that requires intellegent people who feel appreciated and supported and your complaints and whining don't do much in that regard!
LikeReply1 hr
Julie Ali · 
Greg Caso-G Complaints and whining is good for the system. If more citizens did this and then voted out unproductive political parties we would get good governance rather than the incompetence we see and complain about. Why should we stay silent? We work hard for our money that goes to pay for these folks. We employ all public sector workers. Some of them do work. Some of them have no deliverables. When they fail at their work we cannot hold them accountable because everyone is responsible but no one gets penalized. In the private sector you'd be terminated. In the public sector we are stuck and with reference to the politicians sometimes we are stuck for 44 years. Why should we give compliments to people who do not perform? What are we? The employees of the GOA? Nope. We are the employers. Don't like it? Don't work for us.
LikeReply3 mins





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