School district 27 plans public consultation meetings

There was only one person from the public attending the School District 27 board’s first meeting of the 2012/13 school year Tuesday evening.

There was only one person from the public attending the School District 27 board’s first meeting of the 2012/13 school year Tuesday evening.

However, several directors commented that more people from the public will likely be in attendance for the special board meeting coming up this Tuesday, Sept. 25.

In that meeting the board is slated to release its report on planning options proposed for the school district.

Given falling student enrollment and ongoing financial difficulties, the board’s report is expected to include cost cutting and greater efficiency options.

During Tuesday’s meeting the trustees voted to cancel all of their committee meetings until the public consultation process on the report has been completed. Committee meetings will only be called to deal with urgent or emergent issues.

While times have not yet been finalized, consultation meetings to gather input from the public on proposals in the report have been scheduled for the Williams Lake Secondary School gymnasium on Oct. 2 and at the 100 Mile House Junior Secondary gymnasium on Oct. 4.

Subsequent public meetings are scheduled to be held at the Alexis Creek School on Oct. 16, at Peter Skene Ogden secondary in 100 Mile House on Oct. 23, and at Columneetza secondary gymnasium on Oct. 25.

The trustees gave no hint of what might be included in the report to be released Tuesday. The board meetings start at 6:30 p.m.

Chair Will Van Osch said the public consultation process is expected to be concluded by the end of December and the board is expected to make decisions on proposals in the report by the end of January.

Superintendent of Schools Mark Thiessen also reported that initial enrollment figures are better than expected. On opening day he said the district was projecting a drop in enrollment of 200 students, but only had 150 students fewer than expected.

Final enrollment figures won’t be tabulated and released until some time in October.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Van Osch also introduced Lac La Hache area trustee Tanya Guenther as the new vice-chair to replace Patricia Baker who resigned last week to take a job in another province.

Secretary-treasurer Bonnie Roller said she will be working with the District of 100 Mile House to arrange for a by-election in Zone 3 to replace Baker.