School District No. 37 (Delta, B.C.)

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School District No. 37 (Delta, B.C.)

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The Public Schools Act of 1872 established a system of non-denominational, free public education in British Columbia. School districts could be designated wherever a minimum of ten children between the ages of five and fifteen years lived. Local residents would apply to Victoria with evidence that there was a sufficient number of children in an area to open a school. After a school was established, the department of education allotted money from local taxes to an elected three-man board that ran the school. The first school established in Delta was the Trenant school about 1875. In its rudimentary form, the Delta School District was represented by three trustees: John Oliver, S.L. Smith, and Robert Kittson served in 1895. Early minutes discuss expenditures for equipment, supplies, building maintenance, and teacher salaries, reflecting functions which were to become the responsibility of the Secretary-Treasurer. From 1899 to 1905, meetings were held annually in the Delta School House, with business pertaining to that school only. Thus at this time, each school had its own administration and its own Board. In 1906, a new schools act led to the consolidation of the numerous districts operating in a single municipality. The Boards amalgamated and formed a single Delta School Board encompassing all Delta schools, including Boundary Bay, Trenant, Sunbury, Gulfside, Ladner, and Westham Island. Meetings were now held monthly at Council Chambers. In subsequent years, the Board of Trustees continued to address the expanding concerns of the School District, such as the construction of new schools, teacher salaries, and the growing involvement of the Board with other community organizations. The Board of School Trustees is run as a corporation under the authority of the provincial government's Department/Ministry of Education, and is subject to the Public Schools Act. When School Boards were relatively small, the District Inspector, now known as Superintendent, was provincially employed and administered more than one District (there were exceptions in the case of large Districts, such as Vancouver, where the Board hired its own Inspector). In the 1980's, because Districts such as Delta grew larger, the Superintendent had jurisdiction of only one District, and became an employee, and Chief Executive Officer, of the Board. The Secretary-Treasurer was always employed by the Board, and enjoyed considerably more power when the Superintendent was a provincial agent. Once reporting directly to the Board, the Secretary-Treasurer has assumed a deputy role to the Superintendent, and reports to the Board through the CEO. The Superintendent is primarily concerned with implementing Board policy, and therefore with the education students are receiving, while the Secretary-Treasurer deals with the administration of finances in providing that education. When the Board of School Trustees was officially established, there were five trustees elected to two-year terms, three elected one year, two the next. Elections were then changed so that all trustees were elected at once, and terms increased to three years. In 1981, the number of trustees increased to seven. The trustees are required to observe the administration of education in the District, and to make policy decisions based on those observations. In;the 1960's, the trusteeship became a paid position.


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