District reviews vehicle policy

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District criticized by parents over vehicle use

  • May. 22, 2015 7:00 a.m.

TRACY HUGHES

Black Press

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District will form a committee to review its vehicle policy after the District Parent Advisory Council expressed serious concerns about the expense and use of school district vehicles.

“We are going to be looking into this, into the contracts and what’s included and things like that,” said board chairperson Bobbi Johnson.

In April, the DPAC took the board to task, saying many school board vehicles are too extravagant for the need, are not properly identified as school district property and are being used inappropriately for personal purposes.

“F150 Platinum Ford trucks at a cost of $60,000 for management personnel are not necessary. Small commuter vehicles economical on fuel should suffice for getting staff around our district. Further, SD83 vehicles should not be available for personal use on weekends and or vacations to haul boats or trailers with,” says the DPAC report.

The issue struck a chord with some trustees.

North Shuswap trustee Larissa Lutjen said the criticism over this issue was overblown in comparison to its financial impact.

She said the purchase of eight vehicles, at an average of $27,000 each, is far less important than the fact that the government eliminated $360,000 from their budget in one year and continues to underfund the education system.

“Yes, we will be responsible in the future, but this was not fair criticism. And it distracts from where the focus of our criticism should be.”

Johnson also took aim at the issue, saying if people have concerns they should come directly to the board, rather than the media.

“It was a shock to find this in the paper. If someone came to us with a concern, we’d look into it,” she said.

“This year we talked to more employees, more parents than ever, so it was difficult to find this out in the paper, on the radio and TV. It’s easier for us to work on it.”