Turanski back as board chair

Bill Turanski elected chairman, Vernon schools partake in survey, new busses rolling ahead

Longtime Vernon School District trustee Bill Turanski will once again take the reins as chairman.

“It’s a pleasure to work with such dedicated individuals — you make my day,” said Turanski, at Tuesday’s district board meeting.

Turanski was elected chairman by acclamation.

Kelly Smith will resume as vice-chairperson, the position she held during the last school year.

District approves survey

The Vernon School District will once again take part in the McCreary Centre Society’s fifth B.C. Adolescent Health Survey, to be conducted in schools in early 2013.

“We send a letter home to the parents and they can decide to let the school know whether or not they want their kids to participate,” said district superintendent Bev Rundell.

“The survey has been very useful for us as it looks at trends and does provide us with valuable information.”

The survey analyzes key topics, such as school, family, substance use, exercise, nutrition, sexual health, and mental health.

This year, new questions have been added about sleep, technology use, concussions, neighbourhood safety, coming to Canada, and being a young caregiver.

Survey results are distributed in a series of provincial and regional reports, and do not identify specific schools or districts.

New buses roll ahead

Vernon School District trustees voted Tuesday to approve the purchase of new school buses, an item of business that crops up every year.

The district is required to prepare and submit an annual capital plan to the Ministry of Education by Oct. 15.

“For the 2012/13 capital plan year, the district’s submission will be for replacement of school buses only,” said district secretary-treasurer Randy Hoffman.

Transportation supervisor Robyn Stephenson has  determined the buses that will need replacing, based on criteria set out by the ministry: conventional buses older than 12 years and with more than 325,000 kilometers; mini buses 10 years old and with at least 250,000 kilometres.

This year’s request is for five buses: four 76-passenger buses, and one mini bus.

Trustee Mitzi Fortin questioned why the 72-passenger buses were being replaced with those for 76, particularly when the district is faced with declining enrolment.

Hoffman said the 72-passenger buses are no longer available, so the choice is for those with 70 or 76 capacity.

“With declining enrolment, we have longer routes, so there are more kids on each bus,” he said. “That has become the district standard.”