A Salmon Arm councillor expressed their displeasure with School District 83’s consultation process with city council regarding a fifth option for school configurations in its long range facilities plan.
During council statements at the end of council’s Oct. 12 meeting, Coun. Tim Lavery emphasized he was speaking only for himself, giving his personal position.
“It’s pretty unusual to be publicly criticizing another elected body. I am doing so because I believe it’s warranted in this case,” Lavery commented.
He said he believes there was inadequate consulation for him as a city councillor and for parents both in Salmon Arm and the region. He added: “And it’s not just because of the consultation process, but also the tenor of the school district board response to those who had concerns over the process as well. I personally believe they have been dismissed and not adequately considered.”
Lavery said local government has significant interests in the location, the configuration and the functioning of public schools in the community.
He noted that council did receive a good presentation when just four options were being considered for school configurations.
“It was a well-done presentation, questions were answered and I had a sense of what was going on. But then a new option shortly afterwards was added on… That option became prioritized by the school board without any further reference to local governments,” Lavery remarked.
He said he was talking specifically about Salmon Arm, but perhaps the Columbia Shuswap Regional District would also like more consultation.
“So personally I’m making this statement here right now, calling on School District 83 – and I’m not talking to staff but to elected officials, to present to Salmon Arm council the proposed new option… and how that compares with the options we were fully consulted on.”
Lavery reiterated that Salmon Arm council deserves a presentation so implications can be heard and questions answered.
He said he’s heard from parents who are very frustated and who believe their thoughts have not been fully considered.
Lavery added that he understands the first thing that can happen when people hear a decision they don’t like can be an outcry about the consultation process.
“I think this is significantly different. And I’m calling on the school district to present the new options here to Salmon Arm council.”
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