Hopeful and positive were some of the words School District 27 Superintendent Mark Wintjes used to describe how he sees the district moving forward in light of a critical report released to the public Friday morning.
Wintjes, secretary treasurer Kevin Futcher and Board Chair Tanya Guenther were on hand at the school board office Friday afternoon where, surrounded by senior district management, they gave their response to the report which details the difficult relationship district management and trustees have had with the Cariboo Chilcotin Teacher’s Association (CCTA).
“I have hope that we will move the district forward in a positive manner with stakeholders,” Wintjes said, noting he feels the report, which listed several recommendations, is an opportunity.
Guenther, who confirmed when asked at the press conference that she would not be running for reelection, said she feels the tensions with the CCTA was likely exacerbated by the stress of the 2017 wildfires.
While they were positive at the meeting, the news release issued by Guenther suggests there could still be hard feelings, with its title, “SD27 report counters CCTA accusations.”
For a look at the reports, click here.
More to come
A report released by the Ministry of Education Friday morning has found that many of the concerns expressed by School District 27 teachers in the Cariboo Chilcotin stem from issues of respect, relationships and trust.
“To address these concerns, long-term measures and actions will be required,” concluded Dianne Turner in a report released hours before SD27 management and trustees are to host a press conference in Williams Lake to respond to the report.
Turner, who was contracted by the ministry to look into the stormy relationship between the teachers and district trustees and management, noted it will require a sustained focus on improving the culture in the district and building a sense of community on behalf of the learners and staff at SD27.
The Minister of Education and Deputy Minister of Education requested the report after there was a vote of non-confidence by the Cariboo-Chilcotin Teachers Association (CCTA) in the fall of 2017 that included the board, superintendent and the secretary-treasurer.
Turner noted the three main areas of concern identified by the CCTA were personnel practices, contract compliance and financial budgeting.
In advance of writing the report, Turner visited Williams Lake to meet and conduct interviews in November, December and February, and also had meetings by phone.
“According to most interviewees, the school district is described as having problems for many years,” Turner stated. “The stories told during the interviews described poor relationships, and disrespectful behaviour of trustees, staff and community members.”
Turner said interviewees also described the district as being rudderless, without direction, and without a cohesive and coherent plan for improving student outcomes.
“Staff described frustration that they are not included in developing the district’s direction, and do not feel respected as experts in the field or as members of the school district community.”
In the report Turner addresses governance, finance and budget, leadership, morale, vision, culture and communication, and makes 12 recommendations ranging from a governance and policy review, a visioning process that includes all district leaders, staff and school communities to analyzing and address the concerns expressed about a ‘power triangle.’
She said the board of education has expressed a desire to work toward improving the issues identified, and should be afforded every opportunity to lead this change directly.
Read the full report here.