Bill 64 was the topic of a virtual town hall held by the Garden Valley School Division (GVSD) board Thursday night.
Trustees presented an overview of the bill and the impacts it would have, and then opened the meeting up for a question and answer period.
During the reading of submitted questions, a number of people wrote in that they have attempted to reach their local MLA regarding concerns or questions about Bill 64, but have not had success in getting a reply.
GVSD Board Chair, Laurie Dyck says the board recently met with their local MLAs, Morden-Winkler MLA Cameron Friesen, and Borderland MLA Josh Guenter, and were able to get their current position on the bill.
"We did meet with both MLAs in the same meeting, and they both indicated that they felt that Bill 64 was a good thing, that they supported Bill 64. That was affirmed in today's meeting as well. Participants in our meeting also indicated they had reached out to their MLA and were either receiving no response, or receiving very poor response regarding their questions and concerns regarding Bill 64."
Dyck notes a number of the questions raised during the town hall had to do with school community councils as well.
Another individual wanted to know if there were any school boards were in favour of Bill 64.
"All school divisions across Manitoba are against Bill 64, they're all advocating within their own divisions and communities to also create awareness," said Dyck.
It was pointed out by GVSD trustees during the meeting that Prince Edward Island, which dissolved elected school boards in the last number of years, has reinstated them in order to better engage parents and teachers.
The board also encouraged people to write their local MLA or the premier. To make that process easier, GVSD created a Bill 64 toolkit on its website. Dyck notes it's a page dedicated to inform people, and also includes some tools. The tools include template letters that can be sent to the premier or to your local MLA.
"We've left those templates, giving you kind of the outside skeleton of it, encouraging you to speak from your own experience, because those are valuable stories. Nobody can take away your experience."
The board also has "Stop Bill 64" lawn signs they have available for anyone that would like to display one on their yard. You can contact any of the GVSD school trustees for a free sign.
Bill 64, the province's Education Modernization Act has passed 1st reading.