Statements by Jack Stevens at March 8th ‘Town Hall’

PLEASE SHARE!!! SD71 BOARD TO VOTE ON CLOSURE, abortion TUESDAY MARCH 15TH.

We need you to pack the house for D-Day, Tuesday 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Board Office at 607 Cumberland Rd. Wear your T-shirts, bring signs. DON’T MISS THE EXCITEMENT. We’ll have big media there. Any of the 300+ people who came out last week, show up for Puntledge – this is our moment to shine.

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town hall screen grab shane 4  - Jack speaking

Jack Stevens:

I was a teacher at Lake Trail from 1964 – 1966.  As Principal of several North Vancouver schools, diagnosis
I never had a school location with more potential to serve the kids and community as we have here in Courtenay.  It has everything: dedicated teachers, space for nature education, close to the downtown, a wide range of facilities and surrounded by a growing community which depends on the school’s survival. We need to hit the pause button and ‘Keep Puntledge at Puntledge’.

The community owns its schools. We are the shareholders. We expect to be fully involved prior to finalizing any strategic plan which, in turn, initiates budget priorities and decisions.

Without full disclosure and thorough engagement, we are being asked to accept an eviction from a school which we  already own. Trustees are elected to safeguard and manage the community’s resources. What will you do if you can’t?

The Provincial Government has failed to return needed levels of funding from the tax revenue we have given them. We will face the same challenges next year unless the Province allocates more K12 funds, we address declining enrolment, and drastically reduce admin costs.

Two years ago, I submitted a detailed budget submission and  recommended an administrative review of the district. No response from the Board.  We should have been well along in implementing these reductions. Trustees have allowed a bloated administrative system to be built over time which was not needed and now is unsustainable.

In my Principalship of several elementary schools in North Vancouver, a much larger school district, I had a vice principal once for one year and the Board administration was a whole lot smaller.

Every time we close a neighbourhood school we weaken the community, especially for young, vibrant families. Parents may move, some to private schools. Without confidence in their neighbourhood school’s survival, parents will be forced to make other choices.  Revitalization of the Downtown Core cannot happen without preserving the schools in the core. The way forward is for the community to become fully engaged  in the next planning phase.

We have an opportunity to develop an exciting Community Education Center for West Courtenay which will deliver  a range of services to all ages in the community.

Commitment and sustained leadership from trustees,administrators,teachers and community members will be essential in moving forward. So let’s all roll up our sleeves and commit to the challenge of working together to write a new chapter in the Puntledge Park/Lake Trail story.

Recommendations:

1.  Maintain Puntledge Park, and develop with Lake Trail a campus Community Education Centre

2.  If necessary, submit a ‘Needs Budget’ to the Ministry.

Jack Stevens
B.Ed, M.A. Community Education

Selected Educational Experience

  Teacher of grades 4 – 12, including Lake Trail from 1964 – 1966

  Principal of several North Vancouver elementary schools

  In 1971, developed the first Community School in B.C. at Queen Mary Elementary School, North Vancouver

  District Coordinator of Community Schools for three years, preparing school staffs and communities for designation by the Board as Community Schools

  Chaired a Community School Consulting team for the B.C. School Trustees and Ministry of Education

  President of The North Vancouver Teachers Association