Friday, December 24, 2010

Reduction in population doesn't translate to subtraction of trustees

The population of the region may be declining,  a number of the schools closing and the student numbers dropping, but one thing will remain constant for School District 52 in the next few years, the number of School Board trustees will remain the same.

In one of their last items of business for 2010, The School District 52 board chose not to downsize itself, voting against a motion from trustee Terri Lynne Huddlestone, who had put forward the prospect of reducing the make up of the number of School District trustees from seven to five.

As Ms. Huddlestone told the Northern View this week, with provincial elections on the horizon for 2011 she felt that the timing was right to explore the possibility of downsizing the board's membership, following the lead of other jurisdictions and as a way of saving money in a tight budget situation.

Her motion however failed to find much support, with Board Chair Tina Last expressing her opposition to the plan, expressing concerns that with a reduced board make up you could at some point have two members of the community making decisions for a 27 million dollar budget.

Ms. Last asked the public to indulge the School District as they work out the necessary reductions to the School District, though it would seem that in her opinion reducing the School District Board membership is not one of the items that should be considered at this time.

Other trustees weighed in with thoughts that the timing wasn't right or that the population of the District  may one day grow again and reducing the number of trustees would then be a decision that the board would come to regret.

Trustee Russell Weins suggested that since there hasn't been a large public outcry over the numbers and the process of doing so probably couldn't be done in time for the next election, there wasn't much point in the proposal.

An interesting interpretation of events, though perhaps a bit more time could have been given for residents to consider the option rather than the end of the year vote to dismiss the idea completely.

Other school district boards in the province, including the Coast Mountain District serving Terrace and Kitimat, have voted to reduce their board components as their populations decline, but for the North coast trustees who rejected the notion by a vote of 5-2,  that is an idea that it seemingly isn't the time to consider just yet.

The Northern View provided the full review of the debate, such as it was, posted to their website this week.

No comments: