While the provincial government and teachers slugged it out in contentious contract talks last year, locally it was district parent advisory council members and the school board that also seemed to be at odds.
The district parent council took aim at several issues with the school district, including banning teachers from running for school board and math marks at New Westminster Secondary School.
"Last year was a bit acrimonious," said Rob Peregoodoff, chair of the district parent advisory council.
Peregoodoff, who was elected in June, said he hopes this year will be different. He hopes to "foster improved relationships with both the superintendent and the board office," Peregoodoff said.
"We need to be more open and transparent," he said. "Everyone needs to be more open and transparent."
Peregoodoff said he is also concerned about the continued strife between teachers and the province.
"Obviously, the state of the labour agreement is a major concern for us," he said. "It's not ideal that teachers are still not happy with their collective agreements. That's a major concern, and really it's just about the unknowns. It's always frustrating for parents and for PACs as to what they can and cannot expect from school administration and teachers."
Making sure the new school capital projects - a new elementary and middle school - continue moving forward is another interest, Peregoodoff said.
"Knowing that the high school is still on the drawing board, as it were, is concerning to a lot of parents," he said.
Peregoodoff, who is the manager of learning technology with the Sauder School of Business at UBC, would like to see the district utilize online technology for teaching and for communicating with parents.
He referred to a school in Abbotsford that planned to do all of its communication with parents through email, Facebook and Twitter - an idea that Peregoodoff applauded.
"They weren't going to be sending home the traditional newsletters," he said about the Abbotsford school.
The district parent council has also been working on developing its own online presence with a website it launched about a year ago. The website will be the group's "primary" mode of debate, Peregoodoff said.
The district parent council's website can be viewed at www.nwdpac.ca.
In the meantime, the district parent council's biggest challenge has been to find a treasurer for the executive. Peregoodoff said he hopes they find a volunteer soon. All parent council members are volunteers.
The district parent council's first meeting of the new school year will be on Monday, Sept. 17. All parent council members are welcome to attend.