Q&A – School Board – Jim Boyd

What community involvement have you had? 
West Vancouver Community Foundation Director – 2014 -17
West Vancouver Community Grants Committee – 2013 to date
Simon Fraser University Retirees Association – President 2014-15
Mentor with Canadian Youth Business Foundation – 2013 to date
B.C. Dance Foundation Board 2005-06
Deep Cove North Vancouver Scouts Committee – Chair/Treasurer 1991-2000
Member of Vancouver Big Brothers – 1977 to 1979

How many school board meetings have you attended in the past 3 years?
I have attended two recent West Vancouver School Board meetings, however
I have also reviewed and studied all WV SD Board meeting agendas and minutes for the past 18 months as well as reviewed their current five year Strategic Plan

What are the challenges facing the school district?
Balancing operating budgets and avoiding structural deficits
Declining international enrolment or increases in such enrolment requiring additional cultural advisors and costs
Local student enrolment challenges resulting from ongoing changes in demographics
Keeping current with accelerating changes in technology, both through teacher skills and cost
Increasing competition from private schools
Reductions in grant support from the Provincial Government
Upgrading facilities such as the refurbishment of the West Van High track and field project

How would you address them?
Look for innovative financial solutions to these challenges and uncertainty issues.
Increase or develop new sources of revenues. Manage costs more efficiently.
Negotiate with the Province to restore proper funding appropriate to the property
taxes withdrawn from the community.
Convince the Province of the economic impact and importance of quality education.

What makes an effective school board?
An effective school board requires a clear delineation of responsibilities between policy issues and actual day-to-day operational management.  No board should try to micro-manage the organization where it has qualified senior administrators who would become inefficient if a board tried to interfere.
Having said that, Trustees must be willing to learn and understand the issues.
This requires the ability to listen, have insight and respond appropriately to all stakeholders.
Trustees must perform fiduciary oversight to accomplish the goals of the organization
Trustees should balance the interests of children, parents, teachers and administrators
It requires Individuals who are keen and eager to devote their time and energy.
They must have good reporting skills and the ability to come to a consensus on board decisions.

What action might be taken to compensate for financial losses caused by reduced enrollment of international students?
Apparently this is not yet a problem as recent 2014-15 enrolment statistics show an increase of 75 international students to date.
However in the event that this problem arises in the future and replacement sources of revenue are required, I believe that the WV School District should undertake a more open and aggressive marketing campaign to compete with various private schools on the North Shore.
This can entail all forms of advertising such as physical signs placed in strategic locations, printed advertising in newspapers and elsewhere as well as significant social media exposure.
Another alternative is expansion of fee-based programs allowed under the BC School Act, Section 82(3) as long as space is available according to Section 2(2)(c) of the Act such as:
Increased French Immersion programs
Introduction of other language immersion programs
Continued promotion of its reputation for IB programs
Expand its sports academies with possible sponsorship monies to offset travel costs
Encourage more aboriginal student enrolment from across the entire North Shore
Generate more fund raising from wealthy residents to provide financial assistance to attract the brightest students and further enhance the School District’s reputation
Consider a modest tuition fee structure for local out of District students

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