The Kootenay Lake school district rejected a proposed extension to their facilities planning feedback time period Tuesday, opting instead to stay on their current schedule.
“We have not made any determinations for what is the right fit for a school, our community or the district,” emphasized chair Lenora Trenaman, reiterating their administration’s repeated line: “There is no plan.”
“When the board comes up with a draft plan, the board will provide another month for feedback,” she said.
Nearly 40 Nelson and Creston parents showed up at the board meeting to voice concerns and question some of the data and criteria used to create it, while others expressed dismay at potential closures. Many felt they don’t have enough time to peruse the data before the March 28 deadline.
“There’s a lot of misinformation. There’s a lot of confusion. There’s a lot of worry,” said district parent advisory council chair Sheri Walsh. “People are very happy we’re carrying on with the facilities plan but there are concerns about the timeframe.”
That’s because spring break falls right in the middle of the month-long feedback period, something Trenaman told them she wished they’d taken into consideration beforehand.
Superintendent Jeff Jones provided those present with the lengthy history of the project, which started in the fall of 2014 to address the challenge of having “lots of square footage unused.” He told them this situation has escalated in recent years, reaching “mid-$80 million” in deferred maintenance costs.
“I appreciate you’re willing to look at the possibilities,” he said, before repeating the phrase Trenaman used to assuage parent fears: “There is no plan.”
Trustees Bill Maslechko and Cody Beebe supported the idea of granting parents an extra two-week extension, but fellow trustee Bob Wright noted that would scuttle their scheduled plans.
“We’re just starting,” said Wright. “I would hate to see this process derailed.”
Trustee Curtis Bendig agreed.
“My main objection is I’d like to get to the point of having a plan, because that’s when we’ll receive the most meaningful feedback,” he said, noting it’s been coming “fast and furious” so far.
“Our inboxes are full and the input is very, very appreciated,” said trustee Rebecca Huscroft.
Ultimately six trustees opposed the extension, while Maslechko and Beebe supported it. Trenaman abstained.
One issue addressed by secretary-treasurer Kim Morris had to do with usage. She clarified that though some facilities may be currently full, administration only factors in use by students — their concerns trump those of any renters.
“Renters are important partners but don’t factor into our considerations. Students are our priority,” she said.
Parents asked whether data issues will be addressed before the draft plan comes out, and Trenaman said that’s up to the discretion of the board. Any errors they find will be corrected, changed and reposted.
Anyone with feedback is encouraged to call 250-505-7039 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the scenario scoring data is now available online at sd8.bc.ca/?p=3507.