April 20, 2016 6:17 pm

Government hires special advisor to review SD 83 board after 3 trustees resign

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The provincial government is taking a closer look at the North Okanagan-Shuswap school board after three trustees abruptly resigned.

The public’s confidence in the board has waned recently, with controversy over where money for a new office building came from and heated debate over school closures to accommodate for budget shortfalls.

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READ MORE: School officials apologize over handling of funds for new building

READ MORE: North Okanagan-Shuswap school closure decision delayed

“There is no question the public would like to see the board resign. They’ve lost complete confidence in the board,” Rowe told Global News last week.

“We’ve heard from the board and from parents in the community that the public has to have confidence in the board and its work,” said education minister Mike Bernier.

In response, the province has appointed private sector governance advisor Liz Watson to review the board and assess its practices, budgeting, capital planning and accountability. She will also look at the board’s relationships with external stakeholders.

The government has not released how much the review will cost, but after Global News inquired, the province said the number should be made available by tomorrow.

“The appointment of Liz Watson to look at everything the board is doing will help set the North-Okanagan Shuswap district on a path that rebuilds confidence,” said Bernier.

Watson will draft a specialized report with her findings and recommendations by May 20.

The school district will then be called on to formally respond with an action plan to address report and its recommendations.

All three trustees gave varying reasons for resigning.

Rowe called for the entire board to resign as the public had lost confidence in its decision making skills. She followed her own advice with the most recent resignation.

Barry Chaf said his vision and view doesn’t align with his fellow board members, which has caused him great stress and affected his health.

Jennifer Wilchuk told Global News she quit after the school closure decision was delayed causing more debt pressure for SD 83.

 

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