There are more than one thousand students who are part of School District 57, but live outside of Prince George city limits. That’s why the Mayor of Mackenzie thinks there should be rural representatives who sit as school board trustees.
On Tuesday night, Mayor Crook asked the board to consider allocating trustee positions to rural representatives.
“Hopefully we can get the school board to change the ways that elections work so they have some form of area representation.”
The idea was brought forward at an all candidates debate in 2014. School board trustees running for office put forward the notion of geographic representation.
“My community feels that a promise was made that night so hopefully the school board recognizes that.”
The request was welcomed by the school board, but as chair Tony Cable explains, it doesn’t mean they’ll be taking action any time soon.
“I’m very glad that he brought it forward but the board really needs to look at all of the ramifications and the financial implications. There’s a lot of complexities to it.”
School districts with geographic representation include Kamloops, Williams Lake, Terrace and Vernon. In all of those districts, one or more of the school board trustees live outside of city limits.
Cable says the school board will have a lot of factors to consider.
“In many ways I think we’re really working hard for rural education. And I guess the question is, would someone who lives in Mackenzie and McBride and has to constantly travel in, could they do a better job? And that’s the question we have to answer.”
As trustee Sharel Warrington explains, those serving on the school board agree it’s in their job description to serve all students in School District 57 regardless of their location.
“I’m neutral on it because we actually represent each of our rural communities. And if we’re not doing that work the way we should be doing it, then of course they have every right to be asking for that rural representation.”
For Mayor Crook, the best case scenario would be to have two trustee positions reserved for rural representatives.
“Ideally if we got a representative elected in Mackenzie and one in the Robson Valley that would address a lot of concerns. I know the regional district would like to see one for the rural areas around Prince George, but at the bare minimum one for Mackenzie and one for McBride would be a good start.”
For now, the idea will be left with the school board, who will discuss it at a later date.
— Victoria Levy (@VictoriaCKPG) April 6, 2016