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Posted: June 11, 2015

SD5 trustees meet with MLA

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett met with trustees of School District No. 5 (SD5), Southeast Kootenay last Friday, June 5.

The meeting is part of the board’s initiative to both keep the MLA up to date on some of the positive things taking place in the district, like trades-based Project Heavy Duty, as well as to discuss some of the challenges faced by the board.

Project Heavy Duty is a partnership between SD5, College of the Rockies, WorkSafe BC and the local heavy equipment industry that provides Grade 12 students hands on experience with various types of heavy equipment under the supervision of qualified operators. This project has been offered for a number of years in SD5 and complements the province’s focus on trades training.

Board chair Frank Lento
Board chair Frank Lento

According to Board Chair Frank Lento, the meeting was just under two hours in length and was productive, saying the MLA was up to speed on the agenda items, which allowed for a very frank discussion on priority issues for the board.

“It’s not about always agreeing with one another. It’s about listening to one another and building upon the common ground we share and that’s what this meeting was about,” Lento said.

Trustee Chris Johns, chair of the SD5 Mount Baker Secondary School (MBSS) Replacement Committee, agrees.

“I believe we have a good working relationship with our MLA that goes back to my early days on the board when the replacement of MBSS first became our district’s top replacement priority.”

According to Johns, Bennett has had an active role in pushing for replacement of MBSS since the Board first approached him in early 2009. Since that time, MLA Bennett has been responsible for bringing a number of education ministers to the district to tour the ageing facility.

Also on the agenda was the ongoing issue of education funding and the newly legislated Bill 11.

Bill 11 was carried into legislation on May 14, and contains several amendments to the School Act, Teachers Act and Advanced Education Statutes Amendment Act. This legislation has been an issue of concern for School Boards, the BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) and the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) since it was first introduced to legislature on March 16.

Lento says the board and the MLA plan to meet again in the near future.

“We believe it would be beneficial to keep in more regular contact, especially as we work to move forward with Mount Baker replacement,” he said.

Lead image: Catherine Cameron and Danika Nicolajsen led the then Minister of Education and MLA Bennett around the school during a 2013 visit to MBSS. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW file image


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