Kootenay Lake school board doesn’t understand mandate to be trustees of children’s education

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To the Editor:

I was invited by concerned parents to attend the videoconferencing of the April 22 board meeting of the School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) trustees, to hopefully help stop the impending demise of Homelinks and other programs that run out of the Creston Education Centre (CEC).

As Lorne Eckersley wrote (“Homelinks will stay in Creston Education Centre through 2014-2015 school year”), articulating what John Solly, organizer and principal of the original Homelinks, and spokesperson for the over 40 Creston participants at the board meeting, all are against what the board is doing in trying to make any changes, especially moves, to the present programs. Solly correctly gave representation and expressed throughout the meeting that the once wonderful partnership that existed between parents and the trustees is gone; the animosity in the room towards the present trustees (except Annette Hambler-Pruden) was evident, and they just don’t get it!

Trustees, again except Hambler-Pruden, were painfully “trying” to look business-like in cost efficiencies, which was such a joke when it was evident to all that they could not even keep their motions, amendments — or was it a motion, they were so confused — straight, and just did not understand business, let alone their clear mandate to be trustees, as Hambler-Pruden made clear, of this area’s children’s educational needs.

Business 101: It is way cheaper to keep your present customers happy than to try and attract new customers. One parent plainly verbalized that relocation changes would result in at least 40 students leaving the Homelinks program, costing the school district $342,000 in funding. And I would to add that that is just the start.

Homelinks was started to get the superb, hardworking, caring home schooling families the added support to help them facilitate their children’s education. Moving and merging Homelinks into the present schools defeats the very purpose of this entity. As having been a home schooling parent for 15 years, and my daughter being in the first graduation class of Homelinks, if this present board’s attitude was around then, my children would never have been part of this. There are plenty of private schools crying out for the enrolment (and the funding that goes with it) of these home schooled children.

The good news, thanks again much to the common sense of lone advocate Hambler-Pruden, things will stay as they are for the 2014-2015 school year. And, as someone mentioned on the way out the door, time enough to vote the present trustees out!

Rhonda Barter