School board changes committee structure

Eight of nine elected trustees were sworn into office Monday evening at the inaugural board meeting.

Eight of nine elected trustees were sworn into office Monday evening at the inaugural board meeting.

The ninth trustee-elect, Donna Allen, was absent.

She told the News Bulletin last week she would resign from her position as trustee-elect to fight for legislative changes to require all school board candidates to undergo criminal record checks and disclose the results to voters.

She said she had to resign to pursue this issue because she felt her efforts would be a distraction to the school board, as Bill Bard – one of the eight trustees sworn in Monday – has a criminal record.

The new board started the term making several decisions, including selecting Jamie Brennan as school board chairman.

“We have our work cut out for us, but I think we’re up to the task,” Brennan said.

After Sharon Welch was elected vice-chairwoman, trustees approved a recommendation from staff to eliminate the human resources standing committee for one year while the district reviews its governance structures and processes.

The recommendation follows a consultant’s report, presented to the school board in October, that found the district’s committee workload is unwieldy and that trustees were sometimes repeating the same discussions at different meetings.

Two standing committees – one for education and one for business – will continue to meet each month with all nine trustees and representation from partner groups on each committee.

Brennan said having all trustees at the table, instead of just three trustee representatives with a vote at the business, education and human resources meetings, should eliminate repetitive discussions because all trustees will get a chance to participate in the discussions and ask questions before the committee recommends an action to a regular board meeting.

“Before the end of the year we would evaluate it, see if it is satisfactory or not,” he said.

Kim Howland will head the education committee and Dot Neary will chair the business committee.

TerryLynn Saunders was elected as the district’s representative on the B.C. School Trustees’ Association’s provincial council, with Bill Robinson as her alternate.