The Prince Rupert School District (SD52) board of education would like results a little quicker from the City of Prince Rupert on a couple fronts.
At the board’s last meeting on Jan. 12, staff were instructed to send two notices out to see what the delay is in both finding a chief election officer, as well as completing the rezoning of the Kanata School property, which is proposed to be purchased by property developer, the Bryton Group.
After trustee Judy Carlick-Pearson advised the board that she would be resigning in November, SD52 needs to find her replacement, and they only have so much time to do so.
“When a resignation … has been accepted, you have 30 days to appoint a chief election officer, and it says in the School Act, that the municipality must run the by-election,” said SD52 board of education chair Tina Last.
“There’s been bumps in the road to get the process going. We’re well past 60 days since the resignation came on Nov. 10 … and [the board was wondering] if there are any ramifications for us taking longer than that.”
The City of Prince Rupert last placed an ad looking for a chief election officer on Dec. 23 and at the City’s last council meeting on Monday, it was revealed that a tender was awarded to Joe Zelwietro for the position and council was scheduled to hold a special meeting on Wednesday to adopt the hiring and a chief electoral officer and deputy will be appointed by council on Feb. 9. A lack of bandwidth was cited for the delay by City corporate administrator Rory Mandryk.
Another letter was sent to the City by SD52 requesting an update on the rezoning process of the Kanata School property – the sale of which to the Bryton Group was approved by the board of education in June 2015.
“The process is concerning us just because of how long it’s taking,” Last said.
“We’re not really sure what the hurdle is in preventing that rezoning from happening and our concern, from the board’s perspective, is the longer this is delayed, are we risking the Bryton Group walking away from wanting to purchase the property? You don’t have people walking up to your door wanting to buy school property very often, so clearly we’re invested in this going through, just because we’d like to get Kanata off our books. [The project] is a multi-family dwelling. That’s a great thing from the community’s perspective.”
In December, city council requested more information from the Bryton Group as to the developer’s intentions with respect to tree-cutting, a playground on the lot, a potential park and more. City staff and the developer were scheduled to meet by Dec. 18 to get more clarification from the developer on those points.
A public hearing for the rezoning from Public Facilities Zone (P1) to Multiple Family Residential Zone (Rm3) for Kanata was scheduled to occur on Jan. 11 until that date was tabled by council on Dec. 7 for after the talks to occur.
New curriculum input
On Jan. 18, the school district hosted a public meeting at Charles Hays Secondary to gather feedback from parents and similar stakeholders to identify a proper curriculum for both Grades K-9 and 10-12. The info gathered will help create the Framework for Enhancing Student Learning document.
“[There was] a lot of concern from parents about what the new curriculum will mean for secondary students … We couldn’t really answer a lot of their concerns [over exams and applying to post-secondary school], but the unique part of this is post-secondary’s involved in the discussion, which hasn’t always been the case,” said Last.
The curriculum is proposed to be updated from a decades-old tradition of focusing on a singular type of learning which blankets all students. Last and others have found this approach to be ineffective.
“There’s so many different types of learning and [the curriculum] wasn’t effective … it didn’t always reach everyone,” she said, adding that post-secondary and trades were becoming a more common path.
A budget shortfall has also forced the district to review options for possible cuts for 2016-17, including transportation. The district has used up its surplus for this budget year.