While the majority of the Okanagan Skaha School Board may be new to their positions as trustees, the board’s leadership remains the same after their internal elections at an inaugural meeting on Monday.
Ginny Manning, the current board chair, was re-elected to her position without challenge, as was Linda Van Alphen, who returns as vice-chair.
This is the third year for Manning as chair, but this time she will have a lot of new faces looking at her from around the board table. After four trustees chose not to run for re-election this year, Manning, Van Alphen and Shelley Clarke are the only returning trustees. They are joined at the table by Tracy St. Claire, Bruce Johnson, Walter Huebert and Linda Beaven.
“It’s going to be a good three years,” said Manning. Though new to the board of education, she said, the new members all have something to bring to the table. “They have lots of different experiences.”
Along with the vice-chair duties, Van Alphen will also be the board’s representative to the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, while Shelley Clarke was selected as the provincial representative to the B.C. School Trustees Association. The trustees have indicated their preferences for the other committees like finance and management; building, grounds, safety and transport; and education. The makeup of those committees will be decided later this week.
The first major task the trustees face is the budgeting process, which begins in February. That, cautions Manning, is just the preliminary work. Final decisions can’t be made until the final, hard figures come down from the Ministry of Education sometime in March.
Working through a multi-million-dollar budget is a daunting task, especially for the new trustees, but Manning said they are all willing and eager to take on the work.
“The whole thing will be a big learning curve for them,” said Manning. “There is going to be a lot of information coming at them.”
With the inaugural meeting out of the way, the first working board meeting takes place on Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the SD67 offices.