Importance of Bylaws for PACs

There was a recent question from a PAC about the importance of bylaws – are bylaws actually important? Don’t they just add trouble, and rules, and weird things to a meeting?

Bylaws are useful, and bylaws are essential.

The school act requires your PAC to have bylaws. The school district policy on PACs requires your PAC to have bylaws, and further holds your principal responsible for ensuring that the PAC has bylaws (in addition to making decisions consistent to other district policies, processes, and established procedures). These bylaws need to be available to your members.

Bylaws are the fundamental rules that define your organization – basically a contract between the members, defining their rights and duties. Bylaws set up your purpose, who can vote, who can go to meetings, who can run for a position, what positions you have, who can’t vote or hold office, how long someone can hold office, and who can make decisions between meetings. Bylaws are meant to be changeable, and should be reviewed every several years.

Each PAC can decide for themselves what rules they want, as long as it is in keeping with the school act (all parents/guardians are members of the PAC). Some PACs have restrictions on parents who are also school district employees, for example – this may or may not work for your own PAC, but is under your control.

It is the members who make the decisions – the people who can vote, who show up and vote. The chair and other executive members are not the people who make the final decisions on things like bylaws (unless your bylaws specify that, which wouldn’t be recommended). Your chair is at the meeting to facilitate the work of the members and ensure that the meeting is run well; your chair is not at the meeting to be in charge of everything.

If you do not have bylaws, or if you cannot find your bylaws, or really don’t like your bylaws, then you need to adopt new bylaws. If the problem is that you can’t find your bylaws, this makes it trickier to amend them. However, many PAC bylaws seem to have a 14 day notice period, and a 2/3rds or 75% majority vote required in order to make amendments. Someone could put up a notice that they plan to make a motion to replace the bylaws with a sample version of bylaws at the next meeting, and then this version could then be amended to fit your particular PAC’s situation at that meeting. After you have bylaws in place, you can then take more time to sit down and carefully amend them.

DPAC has some sample bylaws here, with some notes about what options may or may not work for your PAC: Generic PAC Bylaws 2016

DPAC also has a copy of a presentation from our last conference on Making Your Life Easier with Bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order here:

Please let us know if DPAC can be of any assistance to your PAC.

School Board – Special Meeting May 17th, 2016

The school board is having a special meeting on Tuesday, May 17th, for two agenda items:

  • first and second reading of the annual budget for 2016-17
  • Aboriginal education enhancement agreement

As always, board meetings will be streamed live for your viewing pleasure. If you use Windows 10, make sure to use a browser other than Edge (such as Chrome, or Firefox) to view the school district website, as it previously didn’t work using the Edge browser.

New Executive – elected at May 9th meeting

At the May 9th meeting, the annual general meeting election was held. The DPAC bylaws have term limits, which limit people from serving in any one position for more than 4 consecutive terms, and on the executive itself for more than 8 consecutive terms.

The new executive is:

Role Name
Chairperson Gillian Burnett
Vice Chairperson Mike Gagel
Treasurer Sarah Holland
Secretary Darlene Campbell
Director Candice Bate
Director Sarah Foot
Director (election to be finalized June 6, 2016)

There was a question about the eligibility of two candidates, so an election for the final director position will be held in June, once candidate eligibility has been verified.


May 9th DPAC General Meeting

People may attend the meeting remotely through a weblink (not as good as attending in person, but we understand this can be difficult):

This webconference is set up through LearnNowBC’s Blackboard Collaborate service. A participant guide for this service can be found here:


Agenda – DPAC General Meeting
Monday, May 9th, 2016, 7:00 p.m., Van Bien Training Centre
1. Call to order, Secretary
2. Adoption of agenda and Adoption of Minutes
3. PAC Networking and discussion (To increase the effectiveness of this section of the agenda, we suggest that people report on ideas that may be of interest to other PACs, or concerns that other PACs could help with.)

7:30pm – Partner groups enter
4. Partner Group Presentations (five minutes each – questions may be taken about general topics, detailed and specific questions are best kept to the break)
a) DSAC Presentation (Josh Nycholat )
b) CUPE Report (Karen Wong)
c) Prince George District Teachers Association Report (Richard Giroday)
d) Prince George Principal and Vice Principals Association Report (Dan Watt)
e) Superintendent Report ( Sharon Cairns )
f) Trustee Report (Brenda Hooker)
(5 – 10 minute snack break, opportunity for further partner group discussions)

5. Officer and Committee Reports
a) Executive Board Report (Sarah Holland)
b) Treasurer’s Report (Gillian Burnett)
c) BCCPAC Report

6. PAC and Parent Assistance
a) Grant requests
b) Conference committee and discussion of event planning

7. Advising School District
a) School District Budget to be presented at school board meeting scheduled for May 17th
b) Report – Superintendent Job Interview Panel, May 5th
c) Education Services Committee Report (Steve Shannon)
d) Education Programs and Planning Committee Report ( Mike Gagel)
e) Policy and Governance (Sarah Holland)
f) Suggestions for School Board Report

8. Elections – Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, District Associate, Directors

9. Other Business
10. Agenda items for next meeting
11. Adjournment – Next meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 6, at 7:00 pm, Van Bien.

SD57 Strategic Plan

At the school board’s April 26th meeting, the board voted to receive their new strategic plan, and distributed copies at that time.

For those people not in attendance at that meeting, here is a scanned copy:

sd57 strategic plan april 26 2016

For background, here’s a news article from when it was first decided on, in 2013:

We would be interested in feedback as to what parents think of this plan.

Report from BCCPAC AGM

Please note that these are not the official final results, but are taken from hand-written notes at the conferences.

Elections – as this was an even year, the positions that were open were President,  2nd Vice President, Secretary, and two director positions.

  • President – John Bird
  • 2nd Vice President – Jen Mezei
  • Secretary – Kendra Mann
  • Directors – Karen Nordquist and Tracy Wright


The complete text of resolutions as presented can be found here:

Special Resolutions:

  • 2015.4 and 2015.5 – passed, no amendments
  • 2015.7 – passed,amended to remove the point d) has any health issue as certified by a physician that significantly impacts the ability to perform their duties over an extended period of time
  • 2015.8 – passed
  • 2016.1 – Amendment of Bylaws: Adding the Definition of an Official Delegate to the BCCPAC Bylaws – amended to state “…duly authorized by a Regular Member in any School District…”, and carried

Regular Resolutions:

  • 2015.16 – Implementation of the Parent Portal – carried
  • 2016.2 – Capacity Adjustments – amended to state “…adjust the capacity requirements and utilization calculations”, and carried
  • 2016.3 – BCCPAC Materials – amended to add “…a Parents Guide to Individual Education Plans accessible via the BCCPAC website in digital form to the public… printed copies of these resources would be accessible for a fee.”, and carried
  • 2016.4 Radon Testing – carried, no amendments
  • 2016.5 Volunteer Parent Advocate Training – some amendments, believe it was carried
  • 2016.6 Dust Collection and Remediation in School Wood Shops – carried, no amendments
  • 2016.7 Resources for Teachers – amended to say “adequate and additional operating funding”, carried
  • 2016.8 Capital Funding for New Schools – amended to say “sufficient and additional capital funding”, carried
  • 2016.9 Amended name to Downloaded Cost Presures, from Economic Stability Mandate, amended text to say “BCCPAC advocate that the downloaded cost increases, such as negotiated wage settlements, energy rate increases, and medical services premium increases, be fully funded…”
  • 2016.10 Proper Funding for Quality  Public Education reaffirmed
  • 2016.11 Ministry Funding Formula reaffirmed
  • 2016.12 Cooperation between Ministries for Student Success – amended to change “learning disabilities” to “academic, physical, behavioural, social and/or emotional challenges”, carried
  • 2016.13 Funding for Successful Students – defeated
  • 2016.14 to 2016.15, Life membership for Stephanie Longstaff, Susan Wilson, and Terry Berting – carried
  • 2016.17 Discrimination in Schools, amended to remove the words “not only to stop discrimination in our schools but also”, carried
  • 2016.18 Increased Penalties for Failing to Stop for School Buses, carried

Motions from the Floor:

  • 2016.19 That BCCPAC advocate for appropriate funding for programs and resources for learners with asynchronous development / gifted learners, carried  (a definition: “Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm.”
  • 2016.20 that BCCPAC write to the Ministers of Finance and Education for the immediate investment back to the operating budget of the $29 million in savings for the 2015/16 and the $54 million for 2016/17 collected under the mandated “Administrated Savings Plan”, carried.



Do you have a child in Grades 4, 7, 10 and 12?

Has your school told you about the parent satisfaction survey?

Help us plan for the future – tell us about your education experience. Students in Grades 4, 7, 10 and 12, their parents and all staff in B.C. public schools are invited to participate in an annual online satisfaction survey about their school experience.

The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete. If your school district or school has added questions, it may take longer. All responses are anonymous and confidential.

Student and staff surveys are available in English and French. Parent surveys are available in 16 additional languages.

The survey is open from January to the end of April of each year.


Nominating Committee seeking people to run for office

The District Parent Advisory Council will be conducting our annual elections for executive  positions in May, on Monday, May 9th.  The positions that are available are the following:

  • Chair
  • Vice-chair
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • District Associate
  • Directors at Large

If you are interested in running for any of these positions please contact Gillian Burnett and/or Mike Gagel indicating which position you are interested in running for.  If you would like a description of the duties for these positions, please let us know.  or

Draft Policy out for comment

From the school district:

On April 5th, the Board of Education approved Draft Policy 1170.3 Rights and Responsibilities of Employees for distribution to reference groups for input:
The existing Policy 1170.3 Rights and Responsibilities of Employees, requires updating to reflect changes to Ministry of Education directives and legislation and current district procedures and terminology.


Example amendment:

3.10 Make every effort to structure learning environments, and to provide learning supports that make physical restraint and seclusion unnecessary. Physical restraint or seclusion is used only in exceptional circumstances where the behavior of a student poses imminent danger of serious physical harm to self or others and is discontinued once imminent danger or serious physical self-harm or harm to others has dissipated.

If you or your organization has any comments, concerns or suggestions about this draft policy, please forward them in writing to:
Diane Nygaard, Executive Assistant
School District No. 57 (Prince George)
2100 Ferry Avenue
Prince George, BC ~~V2L 4R5
To help focus your input, the following questions may be considered:
How does the new policy fit with current practice?
How will the new policy affect your school/department/group?
How will the policy affect teaching, learning and student achievement?
Do you have any ideas for making the policy more effective?
Are there any areas in the policy that are unclear?
Are there significant issues that the policy should, but does not, address?
Can you foresee any difficulties posed by the implementation of the policy?
Will the policy as proposed put unreasonable demands on people or resources? If so, how?