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School District 83 to pay portion of special advisor's review

School District 83 Board of Education: Back row- Barry Chafe, Chris Coers, Michel Saab, Bobbi Johnson, Bob Fowler. Front - Larissa Lutjen, Kelly Rowe, Jenn Wilchuk and Debbie Evans.
Image Credit: School District 83
May 17, 2016 - 4:30 PM

SALMON ARM - The full cost of hiring a special advisor to review School District 83 remains unknown, but the district itself will front a large portion of the bill.

District spokesperson Alice Hucul confirms the district will split the cost of special advisor Liz Watson’s review into governance practices and budgeting practices with the Ministry of Education. 

Watson has been in the district over the past few weeks conducting interviews with district staff and reviewing documents as part of her review, which is due back to the Ministry of Education May 20.

Exactly how much that work is expected to cost has not been disclosed. 

“We aren't releasing any estimates because it may or may not be close, depending on what special advisor Liz Watson determines she needs to do,” Hucul says.

Hucul couldn’t say where the funds to pay for the district’s share of the cost will come from.

School District 83 has been under fire in recent months after parents discovered $10.5 million in surpluses were transferred from the operating budget into capital funds, which were then used in part to build a new $9-million board office and $1-million building in the school works yard.

School board trustees asked to be reviewed by a special advisor earlier this year. This is the eighth time a special advisor has been hired to report on a B.C. school district in the past 14 years.

The school board will have to submit an action plan in response to the report.

Watson is president and CEO of Watson Inc. of Vancouver and has more than 30 years experience as a lawyer and more than a decade as a leading advisor to boards, committees and CEOs. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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