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New DPAC chair to rebuild relationship with district

Rob Peregoodoff has set himself a tall task as he takes over as head of the New Westminster district parent advisory council (DPAC) for the 2012-13 school year.

Peregoodoff, who had been serving as DPAC secretary, was elected at the council’s annual general meeting on Monday succeeding Wendy Harris. The Queen Elizabeth elementary parent assumes the role following a tumultuous year where several issues had parents at odds with school district trustees and staff.

“My brief 45-second campaign speech consisted of a strategy around fostering the relationship with the board office,” said Peregoodoff. “We need to refocus on common goals and remove the personalities, this was the problem. It became personal and passionate. There’s a lot of passion there, particularly from the DPAC side.”

In the past two years, DPAC representatives have complained of potential conflicts of interest on the board of education. He’d like to see it be less of an issue in the coming year.

“It’s something we will monitor, it’s the nature of the structure. However, there is no point in becoming aggressive pursuing that. We’re all professionals and we expect to conduct ourselves in a professional manner,” said Peregoodoff.

He wants to improve DPAC accountability and transparency by using the organization’s website (www.nwdpac.ca).

“My vision is to no longer conduct contentious discussions through email, we do it through a public forum like a blog or comments on the site with the goal that we can engage all New Westminster parents, even if passively,” he said.

• Also at the AGM, DPAC voted to support the city’s traffic advisory committee’s recommendation to council calling for the Pattullo Bridge not to be replaced, to toll it to coincide with the tolling of the new Port Mann Bridge, and to do baseline air quality testing on New Westminster roads used by vehicles going on and off the Pattullo.

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