SD23 decision challenged

School District 23 is being asked to revisit its decision to go ahead with grade reconfiguration on the Westside in September.

Last week, the district's Board of Education voted 5-2 in favour of the reconfiguration, which would see K to Grade 5 in elementary schools, Grades 6 to 8 in middle schools and Grades 9 to 12 in high schools.

An on line petition established this week asks that the decision be set aside because trustees did not follow its own procedures. The petition states in part:

"SD#23's Policy and Procedures manual states that the superintendent must present any school closures or consolidation to the Board of Trustees in November, to be followed by "a process of discussion and consultation with parents, staff and the community" no later than January. The policy also states that "consultation will be meaningful, and fair consideration will be given to all public input prior to the Board making its final decision".

"Not only have the prescribed timelines been violated, but there was no consultation or discussion with the community. Both the board chair and the superintendent acknowledged at the Feb. 28th meeting that the school district's standard policies and practices were not adhered to in this case."

West Kelowna trustee Julia Fraser, one of the five who voted in favour of grade reconfiguration, said she has confidence the district can roll out the change in a short period of time after having success doing it in Rutland a few years ago.

She added making the change now, as opposed to waiting a year will save the district about $1.85 million.

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