June 27, 2014 - 3:36 PM
ARMSTRONG – It sounded like a sound business decision. Reduce the number of North Okanagan-Shuswap school board trustees from nine to seven and save $25,000 a year.
As the trustees investigated the idea launched from budget deliberations, they soon discovered there was a bigger downside to shrinking the school board.
At a special public meeting on June 23, the trustees voted to keep the status quo after listening to presenters and reviewing the information and data collected by school district employees.
The trustees felt the timeline was too short to make an informed decision. The Ministry of Education deadline was in July.
“We’re rushing it because we think we are doing the right thing,” trustee Bob Fowler said in a media release. “But if we are doing the right thing then we should take the time to do it right.”
The board members also heard from rural areas concerned about the loss of representation on the board.
Of the 15 municipal councils, unions, first nations and parent groups contacted for input, only the City of Enderby, the Regional District of the North Okanagan and the District of Armstrong/Spallumcheen replied.
The councillors in Enderby and the RDNO board members were against the idea, while the Armstrong/Spallumcheen councillors were in favour of the move.
District of Sicamous councillor Suzanne Carpenter made a presentation at the meeting and asked the board to keep a trustee in the Sicamous-Malakwa area.
“Sicamous has some major challenges and is going through changes,” Carpenter said. “We need a local trustee. We can’t afford to lose any more voices.”
The vocal opposition expressed along with the teachers’ strike and a lack of proper consultation made the trustees uncomfortable with proceeding with the cuts for the time being.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014