School board changes date of closure debate

School board meets in Ashcroft on March 8

After listening to comments from parents, politicians and community members, the school board has moved the decision for school closure consultation home to the affected communities.

Instead of making their decision about Ashcroft and Lillooet at the Feb. 22 board meeting in Lytton, the recommendations will be considered invidually at home: in the Ashcroft Secondary School library on March 8 at 7 pm, and in the Lillooet Secondary School library on March 9 at 7 pm.

“After discussion amongst the Board members and senior staff, given that we would like to make this process as transparent as possible without interrupting our already scheduled Board meeting in Lytton,” said a statement from the Education Board, “and in response to community requests, additional meetings have been scheduled to provide an opportunity for community members to hear Board discussions prior to decisions being made.”

Several community members had planned to attend the Lytton meeting.

Education Board Chair Valerie Adrian said the later date for the meeting will mean that there will be no closures for 2011 since any recommendation must be made by the end of April, and only after a 60-day consultation process.

Adrian said AES closure could have happened as early as September 2011, but she likes having more time to consult with the communities – if the Board votes to enter into consultation – and explore options.

Ashcroft’s trustee, Christoper Roden has been arguing for correct procedure on the Board, claiming that it hasn’t been following its own policies when it comes to school closures and consultation.

He wants the BC Trustees’ Association lawyer look into the matter.