Revelstoke’s new Board of Education was officially sworn in early this afternoon. Trustees Sarah Zimmer, Alan Chell, Bill MacFarlane and Elmer Rorstad were present for the ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 1. Garry Pendergast is currently out of the country and will be sworn in on Nov. 27.
Pendergast, along with Zimmer, are the two newcomers to the board. Zimmer said she is looking forward to learning the ins and outs of how the board of education works and that she doesn’t have anything specific in mind she’s looking to address right away.
“I mostly need to learn the lay of the land and figure out how things work before I start giving my opinions on things,” she said.
Previous board chair Bill MacFarlane said some of the big issues the board of education will likely tackle are the upcoming teacher bargaining,figuring out what the provincial Ministry of Education’s new funding formula for schools will mean for the Revelstoke District, and the ongoing disposition of surplus schools.
MacFarlane said the board will continue to look at the disposition of surplus properties, including lands at Mountain View, Mount Begbie and Big Eddy elementary school sites.
“We continue to look at that. We’re looking now at listing the Big Eddy properties. We just need to work through that process because we have had some proposals,” said MacFarlane.
Originally the Ministry of Education required that the Revelstoke School District sell of its surplus sites to help off-set some of the costs incurred to build Mountain View Elementary and a new Revelstoke Secondary School. However, Revelstoke superintendent of schools Mike Hooker said over the course of the last few years the ministry has agreed some of that money can be used to off-set costs related to sales (for example, demolition of the Big Eddy Elementary school), with the remaining being placed in a capital account the ministry also has access to.
At an informal meeting just prior to the swearing in ceremony, Hooker also praised the well-known reputation of the Revelstoke Board of Education for its continued focus on putting students first. MacFarlane agreed, saying its important to ensure that theme of good governance is continued.
“Our history here, probably the last two decades, has been one of fairly good cooperation between board and administration and the teachers and CUPE workers,” said MacFarlane. “I have no doubt that will continue.”
The Revelstoke Board of Education meets monthly and meetings are open to the public. Similar to city council meetings, the public is able to observe but not participate. The next meeting takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. A full list of meeting dates can be found here.