Opinion

EDITORIAL: Trustees must consider options

It’s good to hear North Okanagan-Shuswap School District trustees will leave no stone unturned when it comes to cutting costs, even if it means they may be directly impacted.

The district is reviewing if the number of elected officials should be reduced from nine to seven.

“With continuing shortfalls, nothing escapes a look at possibly saving money,” said trustee Chris Coers.

Obviously the $25,000 a year that would be saved by having two fewer trustees is a drop in the bucket compared to the overall $1.8 million shortfall in 2014/15. But when deficits occur annually, every penny counts and it would be interesting to know how many classroom supplies $25,000 would purchase? Could it make the difference between a student seeing a speech pathologist or not?

The other thing to consider is that while the North Okanagan-Shuswap has nine trustees, most other districts, including Vernon and Kelowna, have seven. Granted, North Okanagan-Shuswap covers a large geographical area and has some distinct communities, but at a time when enrolment is shrinking and there are fewer schools to govern, why would this district have more elected officials  at the table than other jurisdictions?

Obviously before any changes occur, there needs to be a solid public consultation process to ensure communities continue to have sufficient representation.

However, all potential money-saving options must be considered thoroughly, and by taking a new direction, trustees may develop a sense of what their laid-off employees have been facing.

 

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