B.C.’s education minister may be too busy to visit Penticton, but the Queen’s representative in Victoria is planning an appearance here.
Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon will be the guest of honour at an assembly at Uplands Elementary School on the morning of Feb. 14.
Okanagan Skaha School District superintendent Wendy Hyer provided details of the visit to the school board at its meeting on Monday.
The lieutenant-governor “is coming to the area and she asked the City of Penticton to arrange a school visit,” explained Hyer.
“So they forwarded the typical itinerary that she has set out and the staff at Uplands Elementary were very happy to arrange an assembly.”
Guichon is expected to give a short speech about her role in government, followed by a question-and-answer session with students, who will later perform a few songs for the guest of honour.
Hyer said the lieutenant-governor is expected at a function in Summerland that same day at 11 a.m.
Meanwhile, Trustee Ginny Manning said she’s disappointed Education Minister Peter Fassbender has taken a pass on an invitation to visit the district.
In December, the board invited the minister for a tour to check out some of the district’s shared services, such as the phone and Internet connections the district provides to the City of Penticton and Okanagan School of the Arts.
Fassbender’s administrative co-ordinator sent the district an email last week to say the minister’s schedule “will not allow him to visit at this time.”
“First of all, it’s not even from the minister,” Manning said as she shared her concerns about the response with fellow trustees. “Second of all, this falls on the heels that I personally invited him at (a) conference in December and he said in front of 400 people, ‘I would be happy to come visit your district.’
“So we sent this (invitation) right after that, and I’m really disappointed he didn’t even answer himself or the letter didn’t even come with his signature on it. It came in an email,” said Manning.
She noted the board has extended several such invitations to ministers in recent years with similar results.
“It has been difficult to have them actually come visit,” said Manning, “even though publicly they talk about visiting every district and how they’re out there.”