School district rocked by another resignation

Kelly Rowe, Armstrong-Spallumcheen trustee, tendered her resignation Wednesday

Kelly Rowe has resigned as Armstrong-Spallumcheen school trustee.

Kelly Rowe has resigned as Armstrong-Spallumcheen school trustee.

The resignations keep coming at the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District.

Kelly Rowe, Armstrong-Spallumcheen trustee, tendered her resignation Wednesday, just days after Sicamous’ Barry Chafe and Jenn Wilchuk, from Sorrento, stepped down.

“I should put my money where my mouth is,” said Rowe, who unsuccessfully urged the entire board to resign Tuesday.

“This is a large district and the public in general doesn’t trust the board and they’re not happy with the board. They want this board to resign.”

In her resignation letter, Rowe says she has no choice.

“We are in this position of trust to serve our communities. When the community has lost complete trust in this board we are no longer effective and then what is the point,” she wrote.

“I believe there is clearly a great deal of dysfunction within the board and I don’t see how a ministry advisor is going to be able to fix that. Perhaps they will dissolve the board. I feel this is my best and only choice.”

On Tuesday, a majority of trustees requested that the Ministry of Education appoint a special advisor, “to undertake a review and provide recommendations in a report with respect to the board’s current governance practices.”

Beyond the resignations of three trustees, controversy has swirled around the transfer of $10.5 million in operational surpluses to capital funding over the past five years. This money was used in part to fund a $9 million administration office.

Residents have also been frustrated with the process that could see Armstrong Elementary and other schools closed.

Unlike Rowe, Bob Fowler, the other Armstrong-Spallumcheen trustee, insists he is staying on the board.

“I will remain as a trustee. I believe some of the trustees are taking a knee-jerk reaction to some of the public,” he said.

“I was elected by the entire community and I represent them all. There is a small group that wants us to be more accountable and that’s fine, but I don’t need to resign over that.”

It’s not known when a byelection will be held for the three vacancies on the board.