Board of Trustees puts off ward boundary review
Rocky View Schools (RVS) board put off a decision to review ward boundaries, Feb. 7.
The move came after a discussion about a report prepared by education consultant Stephen Cymbol on the estimated number of students in each RVS ward.
Trustee Norma Lang made the motion, saying she wanted ample time to get public feedback on any potential changes to RVS’ ward boundaries.
“My intention is to push the work into the next term,” she said. “There simply isn’t time to (review wards) now and do it well.”
Lang’s motion also states the ward boundary committee will be made up of representatives from all six RVS wards.
“We are prepared to step outside our comfort zone and give the decision … to people who don’t sit at this table,” she said. “This would allow the passionate parents an opportunity to be part of the decision-making process.”
Trustee Bev LaPeare was in favour of Lang’s motion.
“This really gives (the electorate) a voice,” she said. “This puts it out there for the public and that is how it should be.”
Trustee Don Thomas said leaving the problem for the next board is a bad idea. He added RVS should have representation by population, with each trustee representing a similar number of students to ensure each one gets their share.
Currently, the number of students represented by each trustee ranges from an estimated 6,379 in ward five (Bearspaw area) to 14,847 in ward 2 (Chestermere and area). (See story page 6.)
“The problems are going to be exacerbated before 2017,” he said.
Thomas also warned of the potential pitfalls of too much community consultation.
“The danger of having the community trying to decide … is ultimately the board has to decide in any case.”
Trustee Sylvia Eggerer was also against putting off the ward boundary review, saying she has already received feedback from Airdrie residents concerned their children may not be being fairly represented.
“I agree with consultation,” she said. I see wheels spinning. Just because we put it off and don’t make a decision doesn’t mean it will get better.”
Trustee Bruce Pettigrew voted in favour of Lang’s motion, but expressed concern about the lack of representation by population.
“While I struggle with the inequities in the boundaries I do believe we do have to try as best we can,” he said. “I find myself caught because … we don’t have the time to make this change.”
Lang’s decision to have the next council review ward boundaries with the help of a public committee was passed in a 4-2 vote, with LaPeare, Lang, Pettigrew and Colleen Munro voting in favour and Eggerer and Pettigrew voting against. Trustee Helen Clease was absent from the meeting.