PG School Board Chair ‘Hoping’ for Decision on Regional Rep Soon
Prince George, B.C. – The District of Mackenzie made its case for regional representation at last night’s Prince George School Board meeting.
The district wants the current at-large voting system shifted to a ward system whereby five of the district’s trustees would be elected in Prince George, one in Mackenzie and another in the Robson Valley.
Mayor Pat Crook sent a letter to the Ministry of Education requesting a variation in the order of which School District 57 trustees are to be elected under section 30 of the School Act last month (the final decision rests solely with Minister Mike Bernier, in consultation with the school board).
The letter noted more than 1,000 of the students in the district (just shy of seven per cent) are attending classes outside Prince George and nearly half (28) of the 60 school districts in B.C. have provisions for geographic representation.
The proposal has the support of the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George and Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer. 599 Mackenzie residents have also signed a petition in favour of the change along with 92 residents in McBride.
But Tim Bennett, chair of the Prince George School Board, says the Board is reserving judgement for now.
“We’re waiting to hear from the minister. So, while individual trustees may have their opinions, the corporate board has not offered a decision one way or another regarding this. We’re waiting for the minister to execute his process.”
However, he is hopeful the minister will decide soon.
“The application has gone into the minister. Minister Bernier is a busy man but I’m hoping this can occur before the writ is dropped in April.”
(Writ day in B.C. will be April 11. A writ is the day an election is officially called. B.C.’s election will take place May 9).
250News contacted the ministry regarding a timeline for Bernier’s decision and received the following response:
“The important date is the municipal election date of October 28, 2018. The Ministry is working with the District of Mackenzie to make sure the Minister has all of the necessary information to make a decision, consistent with the Ministry Trustee Variation Guidelines, which are available here. We aren’t in a position to speculate about the timing of the Minister’s decision.”