The School District 27 board is continuing on with its Initial Options Report review despite a complaint about the process filed by the Russet Bluff Community Association and Kwaleen Parent Advisory Council with the Ombudsperson of British Columbia.
In a joint press release Dec. 10, the parents and community association stated: “The board has not adopted criteria with respect to school closures, and the appropriate information is not being made readily available to the public.
“Namely: the board has not explained why the schools slated for closure were selected and how cost savings will be realized by closing those schools.
“The board has failed to demonstrate that it is giving adequate consideration to alternative proposals from the community or that there has been a genuine opportunity for those affected by a potential school closure to influence the decision; and that it has made reasonable efforts to engage all groups whose input is required.”
At the regular school board meeting Tuesday, Tom Hoffman, Columneetza Secondary School parent advisory council chair, asked the board if it would change any of its proceedings in light of the submission to the ombudsperson.
“I don’t think we would change any of the processes that have been set out,” responded secretary-treasurer Bonnie Roller. “The process was set out from day one. The board believes that the process is a good one and has moved forward through it with that intent. The complaint is from citizens but it is not going to change the process.”
Roller also announced that two things will be made available to the public on the school district’s website — a 300-page summary of public stakeholder feedback regarding the Initial Options Report and the 10-year facility plan prepared by a previous board.
Comments made by the trustees are not recorded, they know what they said, the purpose of the meetings were to hear from the public, Roller said.
The board’s summary is 1,500 pages and contains the Initial Options Report, and other reports produced by previous boards, information break down including public meetings, think-tanks, guiding principles, motions, reports, and some confidential staff meeting information.
“In your e-binder you will see some things that are closed and some things that are open. Anything that is closed is confidential information that only the board will have.
“Things that are open will be open to the public,” Roller told the board.
There will be one hard copy of the 300-page summary available for people to come in and read if they don’t have a computer, she said, adding if new submissions come from the public, they will be added as they arrive.
Roller said the 10-year facility plan does talk about other options that were put forward in prior years that the present board considered when preparing the Initial Options Report.