Letter writer concerned there was a lack of notice by School District 83 regarding the May 12 board meeting on the district’s Long Range Facilities Plan. Discussion at the meeting is expected to focus on Salmon Arm schools, including the J.L. Jackson campus. (Google maps image)

Letter writer concerned there was a lack of notice by School District 83 regarding the May 12 board meeting on the district’s Long Range Facilities Plan. Discussion at the meeting is expected to focus on Salmon Arm schools, including the J.L. Jackson campus. (Google maps image)

Letter: Public provided little notice on Salmon Arm school facilities meeting

Writer questions what constitutes proper communication

Open letter to School District 83 trustees.

It was with great surprise that I learned that the promised public special board meeting regarding the Long-Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) is set for tomorrow, May 12th at 5 p.m. Since the last board meeting of April 20th, I’ve been anxiously waiting to hear when this public meeting would be. To find out about it on Facebook, less than 24 hours prior to the meeting, was a disappointing shock.

There has been a high level of community engagement during the past month, culminating with high numbers of citizens live-streaming the meeting. Despite this engagement, there is a strong feeling of upset and disillusionment about the board’s true intent (or lack thereof) to consult the public on the important matter of school reconfiguration.

Central to the issue at hand is the fact that two options being considered heavily by trustees were added after last year’s public consultation.

Many questions are jumping at me, as we now have less than 24 hours before the special public meeting:

What are the regulations surrounding the notice that public should be given for such an important meeting? Does a post on the website about the meeting, sandwiched between “Student Survey” and “Preliminary Budget,” constitute proper communication? How is the success of a public consultation measured? When has due diligence been met?

Most important is the overarching question of how citizens can have faith in their trustees to vote on such a course-altering decision for the community when it is perceived that the board has little fidelity to the notion of transparency and engagement?

Jennifer Henrie

Read more: School trustees host special meeting to tackle Salmon Arm facilities

Read more: School District 83 adds new Long Range Facilities Plan option for Salmon Arm

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