Central Okanagan school trustees take office

Major turnover on the board of education will see a string of new trustees learning the ropes after Wednesday's inaugural meeting.

  • Dec. 5, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Board of education chairperson Rolli Cacchioni learns Wednesday whether he will remain the in the position. He earned the most votes of the trustees elected in Kelowna but must be chosen by his peers to assume the role.

Monday evening an almost entirely new set of school trustees began orientation en route to this week’s inaugural meeting.

With only the current school board chairman Rolli Cacchioni and longtime Peachland-based trustee Moyra Baxter returning from the previous board of education, the group promises fresh enthusiasm at a time when educators and administrators throughout the province are on edge.

“That was the interesting thing, not one person talked to me about the contract negotiations, even when I tried to raise the issue,” said Joyce Brinkerhoff, a first-time trustee elected in Kelowna.

With fears of impending strikes or additional job action out of sight, Brinkerhoff said she heard more from parents concerned about the use of technology in schools, and whether someone would fill the shoes of longtime healthy schools champion Anna Hunt-Binkley who opted not to run in Lake Country this year.

Parents are looking for someone to take up the cause, Brinkerhoff was told, and ensure schools continue to pursue ways to incorporate healthier foods and lessons about healthy lifestyle choices.

Returning trustee Murli Pendharkar—back for a third term after leaving in 2005—said he plans to make food one of his pet causes as well going into this term, though he’s approaching it from a different angle.

Pendharkar campaigned on a stance to ensure all children have access to the basics they need to learn and plans to look into whether breakfast programs, like the one he is involved with as a Rotary Club of Kelowna member, need expanding.

The only acclaimed trustee, Deb Butler of Lake Country, is looking at the other big education consumer—the parents. Coming in with a background in parent advocacy, she wants to address parental access and involvement.

Late last year the board of education opted to forgo consultation with the district-wide parent advisory council because the group consistently could not achieve a quorum at meetings. Butler said she believes there may be issues in the manner that parent feedback is being solicited and hopes to look at the issue as soon as possible.

“Your board is elected by the public and they need to be accessible,” she said.

Butler is the one trustee few heard much about in election season as her seat went unchallenged, although those who follow education in the valley know her well. Joining her first parent advisory council when her oldest son entered Kindergarten, she has worked at all the levels of the parent advisory system and said she believes the parent voice is a critical component of public education. Her sons are now in Grade 12 and Grade 10 and she has planned to run for trustee for a number of years—though this was her first time officially throwing her hat in the ring.

Representing West Kelowna, meanwhile, Julia Fraser has promised to advocate for library funding as a means of addressing literacy issues and, like all her new colleagues on the board of education, told the Capital News she is committed to spending the first few months of her term listening to all the stakeholders involved.

The inaugural meeting will be held Dec. 7 with new trustees Chris Gorman, Brinkerhoff, Pendharkar, Butler, and Fraser joining Baxter and Cacchioni. A new board of education chairperson and vice-chairperson will be elected during the meeting, which begins with an aboriginal smudging ceremony and concludes with trustees agreeing to roles on the board’s committees.

jsmith@kelownacapnew.com

Just Posted

Kelowna’s strategy to address homelessness making headway says city

More than $830,000 of the $2.7 million needed to get the strategy going has now been raised

Demolish it or we will, City of Kelowna staff tell owners of derelict former motel

Former Ponderosa Motel is unsafe and used by squatters, drug users and the homeless says city

Kelowna firm encourages annual medication reviews for seniors

Accessible way for families to advocate for their elderly parents

Opening a pot shop in Kelowna will be costly

City to charge a total of $10,500 just to apply and get rezoning for a store

Kelowna rapper, Mr. Wisdom addresses the opioid crisis with his music

The musician says he has lost at least 25 of his friends to date

Your morning news in 90: Sept. 25, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

U.S. worker charged after video shows him spitting on cusomer’s pizza

Jaylon Kerley of Detroit is charged with a felony count of food law violations

Andrew Weaver congratulates New Brunswick on electing first Green caucus

Election win means there are now three provincial Green Party caucuses in Canada

Around the BCHL: Merritt’s Matthew Kopperud nets Sun Devil scholarship

Around the BCHL is a look at the BCHL and goings-on throughout the junior A world.

Father, 9-year-old son killed in crash along B.C. highway

RCMP say family of five was hit head-on by a pickup truck north of Williams Lake

2 B.C. police departments won’t use new saliva test to detect high drivers

The Dräger DrugTest 5000 is designed to find THC, the high-inducing part of marijuana

Canada aiming for the moon, and beyond, with new space technology efforts

With an eye on future lunar exploration, Canada’s space agency is calling on companies to present their ideas for everything from moon-rover power systems to innovative mineral prospecting techniques.

New Brunswick Premier meets with lieutenant-governor as Tories, Liberals vie for power

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said the only other leader he had spoken with since results came in was Green Leader David Coon.

Trudeau looks to restart Canada’s UN charm offensive in New York City

Freeland says the question of job retraining in the 21st century — and the uncertainty that surrounds it — is the federal government’s central preoccupation.

Most Read