The Central Okanagan Board of Education wants to know what West Kelowna is looking for with its request that the board conduct a review of current trustee representation ratios on the Westside.
So the board plans to send the city a letter asking for that clarification.
In June, West Kelowna council passed a motion asking the board for the review, but at Wednesday’s board meeting trustees were told as a result of a major change to trustee boundaries on the Westside in 2012, there is now more equity in representation there.
School district secretary-treasurer Larry Paul said if additional trustees were to be added to the board, there would have to be at least two more to maintain the odd number required for votes and the Ministry of Education would require a specific reason for approving such a move.
In the request to the board, West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater said his council is looking for more equitable representation for West Kelowna on the board.
Currently, there is one trustee, Julia Fraser, who represents the City of West Kelowna and one other, board chairwoman Moyra Baxter, who represents the rest of the Westside, including Peachland, the unincorporated areas of the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Westbank First Nation lands.
Paul said based on the 2016 census, there are roughly 194,000 people in Central Okanagan, including 127,380 in Kelowna, 32,625 in West Kelowna, 16,746 in Lake Country and 16,437 in the Peachland-RDCO-WFN areas. West Kelowna says its population is 34,848.
While Paul said the change made five years ago—which saw the regional district and WFN areas added to the Peachland trustee’s responsibilities and taken away from the West Kelowna trustee—was not perfect, the reasons for the change are still valid. He added the school district considers the current overall representation ration per trustee across the district to be roughly equitable, particularly when the the ratios in Kelowna and West Kelowna is are compared. Kelowna has four at-large trustees, making the ration
Lake Country, with a similar population to the Peachland-RDCO-WFN area, also has one trustee.
In it’s motion, West Kelowna council said rapid growth is expected in the city and that in the coming years and that is part of its reason for requesting the review.
Any change to the current make up of the board of education would not only require Ministry of Education approval, but also consultation throughout the entire school district, not just on the Westside.