Losing candidate urges WSD trustees to consider ‘open mic’ participation
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Manitoba’s largest school board is being urged to launch an “open mic” forum and promote it widely to encourage parents and other community members to voice their views about programming in inner-city classrooms.
On Monday, the Winnipeg School Division held its first public meeting since its nine new trustees were elected to the central board for the 2022-2026 term.
Following the election of a board leader — incumbent trustee Betty Edel was named chairwoman for the third consecutive year — and various committee heads, members heard from a single delegation.
Patrick Allard, a candidate who lost to Edel in the race for Ward 8, encouraged the board to consider expanding the opportunities available to members of the public when it comes to sharing experiences in the division.
“I heard a lot of people didn’t know they could come and participate in a board meeting and speak their views and their concerns (when I was door-knocking),” said Allard, a local parent who gained notoriety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic because of his vocal opposition to public-health orders.
Not all residents in Ward 8, which encompasses William Whyte, St. John’s and other North End neighbourhoods, have access to the internet or a cellphone, he said, adding there are barriers to following the protocols required to register and present as a delegation.
Allard said the board should consider implementing open mic nights during board meetings or other times and promote them widely to hear from more individuals before making school-related decisions.
The board had no official comment on the recommendation as of Tuesday morning; Edel said members have yet to discuss it.