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Comox Valley school board sets up Bunny Shannon bursary

BRIEFS: Board passes policy over providing child care at sites
School District 71 has completed the purchase of the former BC Assessment building on Idiens Way in Courtenay. File photo

School District 71 is establishing a memorial award in recognition of former trustee Elizabeth “Bunny” Shannon.

Trustee Janice Caton had made a notice of the motion at a previous meeting and spoke of how Shannon had encouraged her as a new trustee. While Caton was away for the April meeting, the board moved ahead on establishing the bursary to remember Bunny Shannon.

“Bunny Shannon was actually mentioned at our [British Columbia School Trustees Association] AGM in the memoriams,” board chair Tonia Frawley said.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley school board remembers Bunny Shannon

Trustee Sheila McDonnell also talked about Shannon’s work with groups like the Comox Valley Social Planning Society and LUSH Valley Food Action Society.

The award for $1,000 is to be eligible for students graduating from a local secondary school in June 2022 and entering a post-secondary program this summer or fall. It will be awarded to a student “who works hard in school, completes their schoolwork, participates in school activities and is actively involved in school and or community volunteerism. Student financial need will also be an important consideration.”

Child care actions

The board of education for Comox Valley School moved ahead with a new policy on child care

Regarding Policy 25, trustee Sheila McDonnell asked about consultation for the policy, such as with existing child care providers.

“I’m just interested in what that process looked like,” she said.

The policy sets out the board’s recognition of the importance of early learning and child care programs, and it provides guidance on using school district property for the provision of programs.

Superintendent Tom Demeo said the policy is required from the Ministry of Education and Child Care. The district used a template, while the consultation process focused more on the administrative procedures rather than policy, at least beyond the first draft.

“We also used other school districts to see what their language was around the child care policy,” he said. “It was a long time coming.”

The board passed a motion to recommend the policy and also passed a motion to receive Administrative Procedure 553 for information only at this point. The procedure sets out further details on child care centres and before- and after-school programs.

After the vote, secretary-treasurer Brenda Hooker updated the board on proposed child care centres, specifically around announcements of centres for the Glacier View and Arden school sites. She said the announcement was a bit premature, as the district is still in negotiations with the Ministry for Children and Family Development for the sites.

Some people had contacted staff in response about spaces for children and if there were waiting lists.

“It’s going to be a while before we get to that stage,” Hooker said. “There’ll be further announcements regarding those two centres.”

New staff space

The school district will be moving some staff into a new building to help free space inside school buildings.

Earlier this year, the district expressed interest in the old British Columbia Assessment Authority building on Idiens Way in Courtenay.

“We did close on our offer to purchase,” secretary-treasurer Brenda Hooker said. “We now own the property.”

This allows the district to start renovating the site for its use. The plan is to free up classroom space used by administrative staff at school property, which is to help the district respond to enrolment pressure. It will also provide some office space for the Indigenous education project.

“We’re just in the early stage of the project,” Hooker said, adding they will present the board with designs and more information later.

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