Thursday, July 15, 2021

Ongoing School District distractions, taking away from much required focus for students and year ahead

The summer session for SD52 is proving to be as tumultuous as the winter and spring, with the Board of Education seemingly in some disarray and personality clashes now making for the narrative of their recent efforts. 

Something that is leaving a lot of needed work in limbo and accountability of the last seven months lacking. 

A report from the Northern View earlier this week outlined some of the controversy that erupted from the Special Board meeting called for July 12th, which it seems led to the decision of the Board Chair James Horne to step down from his duties, the former Chair declining to explain why he felt the need to take that action.

Once the dust cleared from the Zoom session, Kate Toye had been put into the District Chair, with the vice chair position eventually awarded to Janet Beal

However, its the appearance of a fair bit of dysfunction at the board that now seems to have been the main take away from the July 12th meeting, at least from the tone and commentary from the news story recounting the event, which included local residents expressing their concern over how the District is handling its business.

So far, the School District has not provided for any official announcements related to the changes to the Board make up through the SD52 website, a lack of information for the public that should raise some further concern as to how this Board has conducted much of its business in this past year.

Even the most recent Board Zoom meeting seemed somewhat off the radar, the only mention through the District website and as the Board of Education does not host any video archive of the meetings there's no actual permanent record of what seems to have been a highly charged session.

The last minutes posted by the Board come from May and those accounts are lacking in any detail other than basic accounts of the session.

Providing that they can find a way around their current disarray,  the need to provide for a more permanent record of their work should be among one of their main goals for the year ahead, that way to allow for more transparency as to how they work, or in the case of the July session don't work together.

Judging by the quotes from the Northern View story however, it seems hard to see how this current group will be able to get around the growing internal fissures to address the many challenges that are facing the School District at this time.

Among the things that parents/guardians and staff members still don't know, is the fate of that Superintendents'  report into the surprising 1 million dollar cost of additional salaries from this past school year, the last we heard on that was in May and still the District has yet to post any information as to what they discovered from their review.

What planning that they have in mind for the year ahead is also unknown, lost in the acrimony of the July session and with little information available from the District to indicate as to how they plan to move forward.

To say that some official clarification is required would be an understatement.

With internal bickering, a less that trusted or positive relationship with the PRDTU and what sees to be ongoing issues in retaining top school officials, there seems to be a disconnect in local education.

Such could be the concern of parents and guardians that perhaps a few calls to the local MLA's office may be in order, asking Jennifer Rice to give the Ministry of Education a heads up to perhaps offer some assistance to the board. 

Or perhaps to even give it it a time out on official duties until it can come back with some kind of indication that they can get back to work towards the decisions required for education in the community.

The Ministry has offered help to School Districts in the past, recently helping the Victoria School District overcome their own budget issues that had made for some hard decisions.

If July is any indication as to where they are at for the moment, having the Ministry take charge for a while may not be the worst idea, allowing for at least a sense of some certainty for the year ahead, that the focus will be on students and education.

More notes on the challenges from 2021 for SD52 can be explored from our archive page here.


  1. Our school district was a mockery well before this circus was voted in.

    With all due respect, there are some notable names that have been associated to education in this community for a long long time.

    To those notable names, if your experience at the board office, or as a trustee is not creating value anymore, you need to get off the bus.

    1. Could not agree more. Length of service does not equal performance or results. quite the opposite in this case.

      how disrespectful it was for the longest-in-the-tooth trustee to insinuate that becuase Kate Toye was on the board for '5 minutes' before becoming vice chair that she somehow wasnt qualified. she was bringing years of relevant experience and education to the role. Thats why we elected her in the first place!

  2. Entire school boards have been shown the door in the past.

    Do I see that happening here, doubt it.
    Does it look like some "ambient bullying", kind of sort of.
    Will our career backbencher MLA enter the fray, unlikely.

    If other concerned residents wanted to voice their displeasure about our current board, why not include the education minister.

    MLA: Hon. Jennifer Whiteside
    Minister of Education
    Phone: (250) 356-8247

    1. based on what we are witnessing...its not all but just two or 3 of them who should be shown the door. mostly because they have been in the room for far too long and have quite obviously developed a sense of entitlement and ego.

      instead of this ridiculous farce, they should be focused on getting a new middle school built

  3. Good to see that David Quane, a school district employee had the courage to speak up during the school board meeting. He may get reprimanded for doing so due to the duty of loyalty to his employer.