School district drafts new education plans

Public will be involved in School District #27 long-term planning

School District 27 (SD27) school board is setting up new long-term plans, and is inviting the public to review them.

Board chair Will Van Osch says the district is working on the first stage of planning now, which should be ready shortly.

“We’re hoping to put some guiding principles down and bring those to staff and then to the public. It’s not as a consultations process so much as to give people an understanding of where we’re headed with our programs.”

These principles will remain in alignment with the vision and values statements of the school district, but he explains they will be also more specific to what it wants included in the long-term plans.

This board wants to move forward with a shorter-term three-year plan and a longer-term operational 10-year plan, Van Osch adds.

While this is a continuation of the district’s ongoing planning process, he says many things have changed in recent years from the BC Education Plan, such as full-day kindergarten and personalized-learning components.

“It’s been really hard to congeal any kind of a plan when we have new initiatives that totally change the playing field.”

The school board chair notes these new initiatives did not cause a “huge disruption” because the long-term planning wasn’t very close to fruition.

The changes did delay wrapping up those plans, however, as the SD27 had to step back and see if those would result in a practical plan it can implement, he explains.

While he hesitates to guess in advance at the components of the plan, Van Osch notes there is a systemic shortfall in the SD27 budget.

“There will be some cutbacks of some sort or another or some reconfigurations perhaps that will make us a little more efficient. So that will be one component of it, for sure.”

The BC Education Plan will be a “fairly large determiner” in what the school district does, even in operations, but he says the details of that provincial plan are also still in the  development stages.

The trustees hope to have the complete plans ready to bring forward to the public again by this fall, Van Osch explains, go through “a bit of a consultation” process and then start implementing the components in the 2013/14 school year.

“We can go through next year without any changes; we have the ability to do that.”