For an issue that was supposedly based on “gossip and unfounded allegations,” the return last week of unclaimed bursary money to the F.W. Howay parent advisory council by the Royal City Education Foundation was as swift as it was overdue.
Clearly, this was not an “unfounded” issue – even if it was made far more complicated than it really needed to be.
I find it surprising, and more than a bit troubling, that prior to last week some of New Westminster’s school trustees appear not to have been aware of the issue that the Howay PAC was having with the education foundation.
Not only is this rather strange, it is also disconcerting considering the fact that the Howay PAC has been pursuing its issue relative to the Royal City Education Foundation since last December.
Other New Westminster school PACs have had similar issues relative to the education foundation that go back much further in time.
So why some of the trustees don’t appear to be aware of these issues is beyond me, because many people – including myself – have been aware of them for quite some time.
Now that these issues have been raised, I certainly hope the other school communities that have had difficulties in relation to the Royal City Education Foundation will likewise have their issues resolved – and swiftly.
As for the education foundation itself, I have no doubt that the funds raised go to the benefit of students. But that is not the issue. The issue is one of administration.
As trustee Brent Atkinson noted in his letter, the school district does indeed pay the salary of the foundation’s “paid fundraiser.”
And this “paid fundraiser” position has been generating controversy ever since a former school trustee was hired to be a “paid fundraiser” under the umbrella of the school district’s business company following the 2002 school board election.
There are several recommendations I plan to make with regard to the “paid fundraiser” position, but I will present these to a meeting of the school district’s finance and facilities committee where for more than six years I have been a community representative (having missed only one meeting, to my recollection).
Regarding the question of Voice New Westminster and its members attending meetings in our community: It is well-known that members and supporters of Voice attend practically every meeting held in this city.
In fact, Voice members and supporters have been attending school board, city council and other meetings in this community on a regular basis for many years – even prior to the formation of Voice New Westminster just over 15 months ago.
Letters to The Record have proven to be an essential and effective complement to the efforts that Voice members and Voice supporters make to attend and participate in school board, city council and other meetings in our community. Letters will continue to be an essential part of the process of bringing about positive change in our community and forcing our elected officials to be accountable to the community.
And, as many people in our community are already well aware, Voice New Westminster’s efforts over the past 15 months have already led to many positive changes in our community, and Voice will continue to lead the way to positive changes for our community.