Answer the question

Elected school board’s cavalier rejection of community concern shocking

Just answer it already.

Last week parents, teachers and students crowded into Coast Mountains School District 82’s boardroom for what’s now a routine show of force for transparency and due process. While the board’s decision to shuffle school administrators like chess pieces sparked the initial outcry, the school board’s refusal to explain their reasoning is the fuel underfoot that set the alarms wailing.

The schoolboard chair Shar McCrory told the crowd “we have heard you.” She said a transition plan will allow for popular administrators to remain in place for one year so they can mentor their replacements. The news was met with applause and tears.

But this is not what parents asked for. What they want is for the administrators to stay where they are. Permanently. The school board clearly has not “heard” anyone.

It was a curious reaction then by the public. Perhaps because they were so desperate for concessions, no matter how small, they put aside the only question that really matters: why are these administrators being moved?

The transition plan was so off base with Coast Mountain Teachers’ Federation concerns (repeatedly being ignored for meeting requests) they upheld an earlier declaration of non-confidence in the school board trustees — supported by 98 per cent of votes. This followed a 99 per cent vote of non-confidence in the superintendent of schools, Katherine McIntosh.

It didn’t exactly raise public confidence that McIntosh failed to attend the meeting last week. The absence was attributed to family reasons, but a notice days later announcing a leave of absence (no reason or timeline given) again allows the public to reach despairing conclusions. Was McIntosh on leave for personal reasons, or was she nudged?

So, more unanswered questions. But again, there is only one question that matters.

Why is the board moving these administrators?

The Terrace Standard ran four stories last week devoted to the school district. An elected board’s cavalier rejection of a community-wide concern is shocking.

Does the board realize public assumptions are worse than the silence? Is it because the reason for this shuffle is so insufficient it’s irrevocably damaging to the trustees’ reputation? Is it because control of the board has been usurped by the superintendent and they’re too ashamed to admit it?

We don’t know. We may never know, until they answer the question.

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