Original Published on Jun 30, 2022 at 09:48

By John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Trustee Steve Gascon wants the school board to consider expanding its four-day school week. He made a motion for the board to investigate the idea of moving the four-day week beyond the district’s southern zone, where it is now in place.

He said the issue has come up in conversations a number of times, and it was time to start looking at the issue more thoroughly.

“We should look at all the facets, consult with all the stakeholders, make a decision based on facts, and the best possible education outcome for all students in our district,” he said. “We made the decision to have a four-day week in the southern school zone for a reason. So I’d like to investigate what are those reasons, and would they work for our other zones.”

He said he understands that it could cause problems operationally, but “nothing that can’t be overcome,” he said. Gascon said with the new daycare facility being set up at Nakusp Elementary, now was a good time to review the idea.

The board didn’t get into any details on the issue, but approved a plan to ask staff to do preliminary research, and scope out a timeline for consultation and policy development.

Staff will bring a report back on the process for the September board meeting. No changes would happen for at least a year, Gascon said.

NSS gets HVAC upgrades

Nakusp Secondary School will see $1.7 million spent on upgrades to its heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems under two different programs this year. The work is expected to be tendered out this summer, with completion by March 2023. 

Transportation study

About 300 SD 10 students get to school every morning by bus – more than half of the student body.

The district regularly reviews the program and the routes, to ensure the most efficient and cost-effective service is being delivered.

One of those studies was finished two years ago, but because of COVID the district held off making any changes to the routes or catchment areas.

“Since that time, enrollment changes, increasing student ridership on certain bus routes, and growth in residential areas outside of the main communities have added to the need to revisit and consider the recommendations from the analysis,” said a staff report to trustees.

While the Province doesn’t provide funding for transportation, board policy considers bussing a “fundamental service,” and the district remains committed to providing safe, sustainable, and efficient transportation, the report states. 

Staff will spend the summer going over the 2020 recommended changes again, and told trustees they could expect a report on the issue for the September board meeting.

Breaking even

The school district’s finances are holding steady. Chief Financial Officer Michael McLellan told the board as of May 31, the district had spent 90% of its amended budget. That’s about the same as last year. In the prior year, the district ran a surplus, he noted, but this year there is one additional pay period in June. Since there will be more spending in June, the district is now expected to run a roughly balanced budget this year, he said.

Candidates wanted

Want to make a difference in education in your community? If you’ve been thinking of getting more involved in guiding education policy, now’s the time to get serious. School board elections are being held on October 15 in conjunction with municipal elections. If you’d like to run, the nomination period is from August 23 to September 9. For more information, visit the BC School Trustee Association website. Google their how-to on running, ‘Putting Students First.’

This item reprinted with permission from Valley Voice, New Denver, British Columbia