Board of Education School District Briefing: December 7

The board of education of SD No. 20 elected new officers, talked bus replacement and reviewed the enrollment report.

Elections

The board of education of School District No. 20 elected its officers for the period of Dec. 1, 2015 to Nov. 30, 2016.

Teri Ferworn was elected chairperson and BC Public School Employers Association representative, and Rosann Brunton was elected vice-chairperson, as well as alternate BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) Provincial Council representative and alternate BC Public School Employers Association representative.

Toni Driutti was elected BCSTA Provincial Council representative.

Bus replacement

The school board received a response from the province regarding it’s request for four new school buses, but only received funding for one.

The province will supply $134,935 for a new bus, but it “could not fund all [the district’s] requests for school buses this fiscal year.”

“The bus that is going to be replaced is a bus that we are having some mechanical issues with and is showing some rust,” said Natalie Verigin, secretary-treasurer. “The three that the ministry has not chosen to replace this year have met the kilometers or the age requirement, but we have not noted there was anything physically wrong with them.”

In the past the ministry would consider replacing buses that had been driven over a certain number of kilometers or that were of a certain age. Verigin said they hadn’t heard from the ministry why there is less funding this year, but suspects it’s because they’ve increased the routine capital.

“If you recall, the routine capital expenditures were originally set to be about $20 million in the province, and they ended up issuing $35 million in projects, so my thoughts are that they’ve just held back some money from the buses,” she said.

On hearing this, Mark Wilson, board trustee representing Trail, raised safety concerns and proposed sending a letter to the province voicing this concern.

“If the government had sort of set criteria as to when they were going to replace buses it must have met some criteria when they talked to mechanics and other people,” he said. “Now for them to just say it’s a money saving issue, is it putting us in any harm? And if so, we have to have it noted that we’re not happy with it.”

Greg Luterbach, superintendent of schools, cautioned the board against citing safety as a concern.

“I’m not sure I would recommend to the board mentioning safety. The buses that are on the roads today, they are safe, so you know, I don’t want to cause panic out there that the buses aren’t safe,” he said. “But probably the fact that they’re being used longer does put pressure on our mechanics.”

Darrel Ganzert, board trustee for Fruitvale, Montrose and Electoral Area A, requested that the board make no mention of motive in the letter, as they had no way of knowing for sure why the money wasn’t available.

The board decided to “write the ministry expressing concerns about non-replacement of buses as per the traditional replacement schedule.

Verigin noted that the three buses that will not be replaced are working fine, and can be put on the list to be replaced next year when the province anticipates “a larger program that will address a greater number of requests.”

Enrollment report

The school district is up 14.375 full-time equivalent students from Oct. 2, which Luterbach said is unprecedented.

“I can honestly say I’m not sure we’ve ever been up, in ten years that I’ve been to SD20 board meetings, at the end of November,” he said. “We typically kind of peak in October and then slowly decline throughout there, so I think it is a sign of changing times.”

 

Just Posted

Castlegar woman to appear on Dragons’ Den

Happy Gut sells water kefir beverages and kits to make water kefir at home.

Four injured in Wednesday evening crash near Beasley

Police say alcohol may have been a factor in the incident

Update: accident between Castlegar and Nelson closes Hwy. 3

DriveBC estimates road will re-open at 2:15 a.m.

Green candidate reflects on South Okanagan-West Kootenay campaign

Rosslander Tara Howse talks about the highs and lows of running for office

Basin beer commercials on tap tonight at Trail theatre

The adults-only event in the Royal Theatre starts at 7 p.m.

B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Louis C.K. accuser ‘infuriated’ by Canadian comedy booker’s defence

Accuser says she did not consent to C.K. undressing and masturbating in front of her

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

UBC conference faces criticism over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

‘It’s been 12 years’: Father of murdered B.C. real estate agent pleads for mayor’s help

Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008 in Saanich. Her case is unsolved.

B.C. woman sends fight to reduce preventable medical errors to Victoria

Teri McGrath and South Okanagan senior’s centre members presented 150 signature petition to local MLA

Most Read