Incumbent trustees take some heat at Kamloops candidate forum - InfoNews

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Incumbent trustees take some heat at Kamloops candidate forum

Kamloops school district trustee candidates at the District Parent Advisory Committee forum on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018.
October 17, 2018 - 4:59 PM

KAMLOOPS - The public had their final chance to hear directly from Kamloops school board candidates at a forum yesterday hosted by the District Parent Advisory Committee.

All candidates except for newcomer candidate Kerri Schrill showed up to the Henry Grube Education Centre, yesterday Oct. 16, to answer questions from a crowd of roughly 50 people.

One question asked candidates how they would work to improve communication methods from the school board to the rest of the community.

Meghan Wade, incumbent chair of the school board admits the current board hasn’t been doing the best job in providing clear communication to the public.

“We have not communicated (events or meetings) in a timely manner,” Wade says, adding that the board’s website has recently undergone reconstruction to better improve communication.

“We also have an app that’s coming and it can be downloaded right there on people’s personal devices,” she says. “We will be able to give much more notice when things are happening.”

Candidates were asked for their input on the number of grievances filed from staff within the last few years.

School trustee candidate Beat Klossner was clear on his opinions of the current board saying it needs significant improvement when it comes to providing teachers with an attractive work environment.

“Employees are not happy with the board of education,” he says. “There are lots of grievances being filed.”

Klossner went on to add that the school district is getting too top heavy by hiring more people at the board level as opposed to in the schools themselves.

Incumbent trustee Joe Small stated there are currently 38 grievances filed according to the Kamloops Thompson Teachers’ Association.

“That’s a lot of grievances,” Small says, adding there is work to do at the board level.

However, Wade who has served as the board's chair for the last two years, says the number of grievances filed by staff has actually declined in the past few years.

"Not quite sure what Meghan is taking maybe we are living in two different worlds," Klossner says.

Retired Kamloops school teacher Lillian Kwan was at the forum to hear from the incumbents and ask questions herself.

“I think this current board has been dysfunctional,” Kwan says. “I’m not talking about all of them… but sometimes the leader sets the tone and I haven’t been impressed and so there needs to be some change.”

Kwan says she wants to see stronger relationships between the school board and the other stakeholders.

“When I (taught) at Dufferin Elementary School, I never met the trustee that was assigned to our school, never, and that to me says a lot,” Kwan says, adding that she wants to see the elected trustees work directly with schools, students and teachers.

There are currently ten school trustee candidates seeking the five Kamloops spots on the board.

Shelley Sim has been acclaimed the school trustee for Clearwater, along with Rhonda Kershaw in Barriere and Cara McKelvey in Logan Lake.

Candidates Caroline Thompson and Diane Jules are running for the one trustee spot in an area that covers Chase through to Sun Peaks.

Voting day is on Oct. 20.

Get caught up on the Kamloops municipal election here.


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