It would appear that the people have expressed their discontent with the SD 74 decision to name the new K-12 facility in Ashcroft “Desert Sands Community School”. I am told that the petition submitted to the Board of Education, asking them to revisit their decision to rename the school, had around 650 signatures. The reply I received from the Co-Chair of the Board stated that a democratic process had been followed and that it would be undemocratic to revisit their decision.
Based on the information I have received, the only conclusion I can come to is that the Board had an agenda and had decided upon a name of their choice. They conducted a “name the school” contest, selected the six choices they felt worth further consideration, conducted a poll which was not well publicized, and then ignored the results in their decision to rename the school. They waited until the last meeting of the board prior to the date the name must be submitted to the ministry. They listened to the only person voicing an opinion and then voted.
The community of Ashcroft becomes the only one in the District without a school named after the community it services, except Clinton, which is bound by a provision that the name of the school be David Stoddart as long as it is on the land that Mr. Stoddart donated for the school site.
The one person speaking at the Board meeting on June 2, 2015 expressed the concern that the school represented several communities and should not reflect the name of only one community. This being the case, every school in the District with a community name must be changed, as they do not reflect the entire area they service.
How the SD 74 Board of Education responds to this petition will go a long way in showing either their respect or disdain (perceived or real) for those they have been elected to serve. Their last minute decision will certainly open them up to greater public scrutiny on future issues they will face.