Nanaimo trustees consider moving school board meetings

NANAIMO – School district staff will examine moving all meetings to Shaw Auditorium at Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

Nanaimo school district staff will examine the feasibility of moving all board and committee meetings to Shaw Auditorium at Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

Trustees requested a report on the subject at the February board meeting, which is expected to be completed by late April.

The idea was inspired when Steve Rae, school board chairman, attended a Nanaimo city council meeting in the auditorium.

“It struck me when I was there that it’s a very professional building. It offers things that our current building doesn’t have. If we’re going to continue in that building, we’re going to have to spend money. [Shaw Auditorium] is relatively inexpensive to go there – it’s like $250 a night,” said Rae.

In addition to a change of venue, a revamping of question period is something that will be considered.

As it stands, meeting attendees submit questions on a sheet of paper, which are read by the meeting chairperson.

A committee will be formed to examine the current format and report back to the board in June.

“We’re going to go through a report to see how other districts do it and that’s a big part of it is question period. Do we do it during the meeting? Do people get to talk to us directly?” Rae said. “We’re going to see the pluses and minuses of doing it the way we do it and we’re going to try to change it if that’s what the [sentiment] is.”

School trustees will have an opportunity to test out Shaw Auditorium as a budget meeting is scheduled there on March 19.