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School board trustees keep status quo
The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District has voted to keep all nine trustees on the board.
The board made its unanimous decision at a special public meeting Monday.
They looked at trustee reductions in response to budget cuts the district was facing; however, the board concluded there wasn’t enough time for consultation on the proposal to reduce the number of trustees from nine to seven, and job action was adding to the difficulty communicating.
“I think we’re just rushing it a little bit,” said Bob Fowler, Armstrong/Spallumcheen trustee.
“If we do the right thing then we should take the time to do it right.”
Enderby trustee Chris Coers believes there hasn’t been enough consultation with the public.
“Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer have had no opportunity to tell us what they think,” said Coers.
The board sent out packages seeking input from municipal councils, regional boards, First Nations bands, district parent advisory councils and other groups, but received responses from only about half.
The board presented two options for overall reduction of two trustees.
One was to combine the Enderby and Sicamous regions (one less trustee), as well as the Carlin/Sorrento area with the North Shuswap (one less trustee). Then Armstrong/Spallumcheen would be combined with Falkland/Deep Creek/Ranchero (one less trustee) and Salmon Arm would get three trustees instead of two.
The second option was to combine Carlin/Sorrento with North Shuswap (one less trustee) and remove one trustee from the Armstrong/Spallumcheen area (which now has two).
By cutting two trustees the district would save approximately $25,000 a year, but trustees discussed whether the saving would be worth it.
Coers mentioned that if trustees were having to travel farther to cover their specific areas, they might not be able to keep up with their original communities.
Concern was also brought up about rural communities losing their voice if trustees were lost.