With the Okanagan Skaha School District facing major questions on the future of schools, board chair Linda Van Alphen said she was pleased to be re-elected to her position this week.
Van Alphen was elected by acclamation at the school board’s Dec. 14 meeting, along with Trustee Bill Bidlake as vice-chair.
“I am glad to be there for at least this next year. I really think we are going to be going through some changes and we need somebody that is aware of the history of the district to be able to lead that,” said Van Alphen. “And then after that, I am going to be really glad to just give it up.”
A school trustee for 14 years, representing Summerland on the board, last year was the first time Van Alphen had been elected to the chair position.
Van Alphen said she hadn’t been expecting to be leading the board through decisions about closing schools or major reconfigurations.
“We didn’t really realize any of this was going to be coming at us. In all honesty, I expected the long range facilities report to come back as it had before, saying just decommission spaces and you are going to be A-OK,” said Van Alphen.
Bidlake is a former principal of Penticton Secondary and current Penticton B.C. Games Host Society president, along with being a school board trustee. He doesn’t expect the duties from either position to interfere.
“I enjoy it all. The Winter Games is a tremendous amount of fun and the school board,” said Bidlake. “It all helps, you are bumping into the same people on both topics. It is important for the trustees to hear the story from the parents and the community. At the same time, the Winter Games needs the support of the parents and the volunteers to work successfully.”
With their final board meeting completed for the year, Van Alphen said the trustees will be taking some time off, before considering all the feedback they have collected over the past two months consulting with parents and the community over possible school closures.