File photo Trustee Mike McKay has made a recommendation to reduce the number of school trustees on the board of the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District.

Trustee recommends reducing school board to five members

The North Okanagan-Shuswap school board to move away from nine-trustee structure

North Okanagan-Shuswap official trustee Mike McKay is recommending a new elected school board be comprised of five trustees.

The previous board was made up of nine trustees.

McKay will make this recommendation to the minister of education, who will make a final determination and set the number of trustees and the electoral boundaries in early 2018, with the election of a new board planned for October 2018.

McKay’s recommendation continues with the ward system, where trustees will continue to be elected from a specific geographic area.

In an interview with the Observer, McKay said he rejected the idea of proportional representation, as the board population is heavily weighted in favour of Salmon Arm and this could result in an elected board made up of trustees entirely from one community.

“Salmon Arm has half the student population, but that doesn’t mean it should have half the trustees. The rural areas do need to have their interests at the table,” he says. “There is no silver bullet or one right answer here.”

Once elected, however, trustees are charged with representing interests of the entire board region, not just their specific ward.

The option McKay has selected, after hearing input from education partner groups and the public, will see: one trustee to represent the North Shuswap, Carlin and Sorrento area; one trustee to represent Sicamous, Malakwa, Enderby and Grindrod; two trustees to represent Salmon Arm and one trustee to represent Armstrong, Spallumcheen, Falkland, Silver Creek and Ranchero. This would be a total of five trustees on the board.

At the time they were dismissed by the minister of education in 2016, the board had nine trustees: one from the North Shuswap; one for Sicamous/Malakwa; one for Enderby/Grindrod; one for Sorrento/Carlin; two for Salmon Arm; two for Armstrong and Spallumcheen and one for Falkland, Silver Creek and Ranchero.

The reduction to five trustees will also equate to approximately $60,000 in cost savings due to reduced compensation and expenses for trustees.

As part of restructuring after the school board was dismissed, a report from Liz Watson, an appointed special advisor, recommended the number of trustees be reduced from nine to either five or seven.

The minimum number of trustees for a board is three.

Related link: North Okanagan-Shuswap school board dismissed, new trustee appointed

The previous board was criticized for mismanagement and infighting – part of which revolved around trustees advocating solely for their own area, rather than putting the best interests of all the students in the North Okanagan-Shuswap as the primary objective.

“The role of the trustee needs to be clearly understood in advance of the election. Once elected, trustees are mandated to represent the interests of the entire district… and make the best possible decision for all the kids in this community, not just the specific ward they represent,” says McKay.

He also adds that the role of the board is not to get involved with individual issues or disputes, but to allow staff to deal with them in keeping with board policy. If an issue were to reach an appeal stage, that is when the board would be asked to provide direction.

“It is not for trustees to be attending so many community events that they are running on fumes and cannot address the highest priorities of the school district – which is student learning and good governance. The board is charged with setting good policies.”

McKay notes the effectiveness of the revised board composition and size should be reviewed once the new elected board is functional. The number of trustees could then be amended for future elections.

Related link: Parents group rejects by-election time limit

McKay’s recommendation will now be forwarded to Rob Fleming, the Minister of Education, for a final determination. He may decide to accept McKay’s recommendation or could set up a different model.

McKay’s appointment as the sole appointed official trustee is planned to end with the induction of a democratically elected board following the October 2018 regularly scheduled municipal election.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Classic tale staged in Vernon seeks local ballet dancers

Anne of Green Gables, by Ballet Jorgen

Vernon youth ready to make some NOYSE

Showcase of excellence features talents of young local performance

Vernon Vixens leave Merritt hockey tournament undefeated

Team sweeps all four games while out-scoring opponents 21-3

Vernon museum praises local group for spearheading RCMP Appreciation Day

Feb. 1 has been officially proclaimed Royal Canadian Mounted Police Appreciation Day

North Okanagan Knights pull out overtime victory over Sicamous

Knights goalie Sean Kanervisto gets first win after being named a top KIJHL rookie

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

Rockslide obstructing traffic on rural Shuswap road

Large boulders rolled onto Sunnybrae Canoe-Point Road in the South Shuswap.

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Snow angels: B.C. volunteers shovel for those who can’t

‘They’ve helped me make it through the rest of the winter’

Most Read