February 17, 2014 The Honourable Peter Fassbender PO Box 9045 Stn Prov Govt Victoria BC, V8W 9E2 Dear

Minister Fassbender, I write to express concern over two recent communications from the Ministry of Education to Board of Education employees. The first was the February 6 email from Superintendent of Achievement Rick Davis to school Superintendents and Secretary Treasurers requesting information to support the government’s application for a stay of the recent BC Supreme Court ruling. While we acknowledge that under the School Act the Ministry has the authority to directly request such information, it was perceived as disrespectful to not at the very least copy Board Chairs on the email. The request took Boards by surprise and put their employees in a very awkward position. The need to obtain the information quickly would not have been compromised by a courtesy copy to Board Chairs. In fact, it is precisely in times of emergent issues that we need to work especially hard at inclusive communications. A strong cogovernance relationship is built on a principle of no surprises and respect for each other’s roles. The email to Superintendents and Secretary Treasurers was not only a surprise to Boards, but engendered a feeling that they were intentionally being sidelined. The second communication of concern was your February 7 email to teachers. Although it is your prerogative to directly communicate with teachers, this email also came as a surprise and gave the impression that the 2002 legislated changes to class size and composition were made at the specific request of trustees. This is an inaccurate portrayal. A review of BCSTA resolutions and correspondence during that period does reflect trustees’ recurring call for flexibility to be able to organize classes and programs to best suit the needs of students; trustees also requested that the Ministry work with BCSTA to achieve that flexibility. However, the consultation did not occur, and the resulting legislation was a surprise to Boards. Your email implying that government acted in 2002 at the encouragement of trustees further strains the relationship between Boards, their employees, and the Ministry of Education. Based on statements you have made at BCSTA events, I believe you hold Boards of Education in high regard and wish to strengthen our co-governance relationship. Positive working relationships are critical to achieving our mutual goal of providing the very best education system for students, and to that end I encourage you and Ministry staff to help grow the core of respect that will sustain us all through these challenging times. Sincerely

Teresa Rezansoff


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