Radon: Characteristics, Tobacco Smoking, Exposure, & Policy Implications for Public Health versus Asbestos.
Welcome to Marilyn Bergstra’s Blog. To learn more about Marilyn, click on the links above in the menu bar.
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Trustees are the governors of the district. As such, they guide and lead the organization via policy development. Additionally, trustees are charged with budget oversight that includes labor negotiations with respective staff unions, appointment of, and contract negotiations with the Superintendent, and advocate on matters that either directly or indirectly affect student outcomes. Additionally, and as a Catholic Education system, we perform duties through a Catholic lens.
Governance is complex. Done right it provides high-level and skilled oversight and leadership to an organization. It requires that we engage in balanced decision making that ensures fiscal prudence; seeks innovative solutions and applies best practices; brings voice to stakeholders and electorate; abides by legislation; maintains a respectful but professional distance from administration all while imparting the teachings of Christ’s unconditional love within our students and staff.
It is important to understand that boards are to embark on high functioning governance. In the words of my graduate studies business prof, corporate boards tend to be high functioning whereas public boards tend not to be. The nuance difference is the level of education and experience one brings to the table. Desire to run is not sufficient, particularly given that we oversee a half a billion-dollar budget. One must ask how they will contribute at a sophisticated level. I have both in-depth education and experience, particularly in relation to governance, management, policy, financial oversight, advocacy and other related functions.
- Masters of Public Health (2016-2018), University of Waterloo
- Bachelor of Science Degree, University of Alberta
- Bachelor of Education Diploma, University of Alberta
- Psychology, Open Studies
- Financial Literacy Certification, Rotmans School of Business, University of Toronto
For a listing of the numerous Boards and committees that I have sat on please press on the link Education & Experience in the menu bar at the top of this page.
Classroom composition had change tremendously due to such things as an influx of refugees, a move to inclusive education, an increase in the number of English Language Learners etc. Exacerbating this change is decreased funding. We need a multidisciplinary approach to support students. This demands implementation of best practices that support the emotional and physical health of students and staff, training opportunities for staff, collaboration with partners, provisions for wrap around services and funding efficiencies that ensure reasonable class sizes and supports for teachers.
Funding affects every aspect of Education. We need to be diligent in how we earmark public dollars. As per recommendations by Canada treasury, boards need to weigh cost benefits, and efficiencies of programs and be bold enough to make changes. Fiscal prudence is important to me. As many of you know, I had made requests to re-negotiate the superintendents contract. Not as a function of performance but as a function of due diligence where costs are justified, and aligned to job title. As I felt the salary was not in-line with the job description, I voted against the contract.
Infrastructure continues to present challenges. It is critical that we continue to relay the dire need for new school constructions that keep pace with growth. Additionally, we need to ensure that adequate funding is available for maintenance and renewal. I am proud that I was able to lobby both the board and the government effectively to ensure that Ward 76 has gotten the schools it required. Additionally, to ensure that funding for maintenance is appropriate to preserve Alberta’s infrastructure investments, I lobbied to have the ASBA to pass a resolution noting that renewal funding sit at 2%. This is an industry standard that will support efforts to see current shortfalls increased.