Tom Newell speaks at a demonstration recently

Kootenay Lake school district hard at work despite challenges

Tuesday’s SD8 board meeting touched on Bill 22 and the new budget and while both may be some time away from being completed and resolved

Tuesday’s Kootenay Lake School District board meeting touched on both Bill 22 and the new budget, and while both may be some time away from being completed and resolved, the district is hard at work despite challenges.

“I think that we can all agree that a legislated resolution during a labour dispute is not the ideal resolution,” said Jeff Jones, SD8 superintendent.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding about Bill 22 that needs to be addressed so that we have absolute clarity about what the bill is actually attempting to do in terms of public education in the province.”

Jones, along with other superintendents in the province, will be meeting with the Ministry of Education early next week in hopes of clarifying the bill and regulations attached to it regarding its implementation throughout the province.

“I think that it’s really important that we have an absolute understanding of the impact of the bill, both negative and positive, and recognize that we are under the jurisdiction of the ministry and we are required by law to run our school districts according to the directive that we receive,” said Jones.

“I really value the professionalism of our administrators and our staff as we attempt to figure out how we’re going to move forward from where we are… I’ve been hearing some positive work that’s going on in that regard in our schools and I commend our staff for that.”

Tuesday also saw the finance committee meeting held at which the board received presentations from stakeholders for consideration in the 2012-13 budget currently in progress.

“We are having very respectful and informative dialogues and we recognize that we are now in a position in the district where it is out learning agenda that drives the budget and not the budget that drives the learning agenda… it’s taken almost two years to get to that point,” said Jones.

“It’s challenging because of the nature of the funding has changed. We have to reconsider some of the decisions that we’ve made and that always leads to both very important conversations about what our priorities are, but it also leads to difficult conversations… something has to give and I think people are in a good place to have those discussions, but they aren’t easy.”

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