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Parent and teacher leaders question Initial Options consultation

Rhonda McCreight during earlier public consultation meetings regarding school issues. - Gaeil Farrar photo
Rhonda McCreight during earlier public consultation meetings regarding school issues.
— image credit: Gaeil Farrar photo

School District 27 trustees received some negative feedback at their special board meeting Wednesday, Nov. 7.

“I am not here on a real positive note,” said Joan Erb, Cariboo Chilcotin Teacher’s Association president during the open question period.

She said teachers at Glendale Elementary School had relayed to her that they felt “dismissed, humiliated and embarrassed,” in the closed consultation meeting the teachers had with trustees earlier this month on the district’s Initial Options Report The report proposes closing Glendale, Kwaleen, and Wildwood elementary schools and raising Grade 7s to a grades 7 to 12 secondary school operated as one secondary school on the Williams Lake and Columneetza secondary campuses.

Erb said she could tell by looking at the trustees that they are tired, but teachers need to feel they are part of the the consultation process and that the trustees are sensitive to what they are going through as teachers facing the closure of their school.

She asked the trustees to show “common courtesy as partners in this wild business of education.”

She also said she would try to sit in on future consultation meetings between trustees and teachers at the schools that are proposed for closure in the district.

On another negative note, District 27 Parent Advisory Council president Rhonda McCreight said she would be stepping down as president at the organization’s annual meeting.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I will not be seeking re-election as chair,” McCreight said.

McCreight said she needed to take a step back and analyze how she felt about the Initial Options Report as a parent.

She commended the board for all their hard work and said she had no issues with individual board members.

However, she said she felt that the district and board policies don’t reflect the fact that district parent advisory councils have legislated roles as stakeholders and advisors to the school boards.

She said the DPAC had collected information about the Initial Options Report and from individual school parent advisory councils but the board hadn’t once asked for the DPAC’s advice.

“I don’t feel that you feel we are equal partners in education,” McCreight said.

She said the board needed to get rid of the railings and barriers that prevent DPAC from fulfilling its advisory role.

In an earlier discussion the trustees dealt with requests for separate consultation meetings on the Initial Options Report from DPAC, the WLSS PAC and the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre.

After considerable discussion the board agreed to hold a separate meeting with the DPAC council on Nov. 28, but rejected the requests to meet separately with the WLSS PAC and The Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre.

Due to time constraints, Secretary Treasurer Bonnie Roller expressed concern about holding separate meetings with individual groups outside of the scheduled public consultation meetings. She said there was ample time in the public consultation schedules for individual groups to make their presentations.

Several trustees also talked about attending school PAC meetings in their regular roles as school trustees and school liaisons.

Public consultation meetings on the Initial Options Report have been held this fall at  WLSS, Columneetza, Alexis Creek, and Glendale schools.

Public consultation meetings are coming up at Kwaleen elementary at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 and at Wildwood elementary, on Nov. 29, also at 6:30 p.m.

The public is also invited to provide input on the Initial Options Report by e-mail using the district’s ThoughtStream process accessed at www.sd27.bc.ca

Written submissions can be mailed to Think Tank, School District No. 27, 350 N. Second Avenue, Williams Lake, B.C. V2G 1Z9.

 

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