The school board on Sept. 1 took place at Isfeld Secondary. Image, screenshot

Comox Valley Schools board to review policy around ending meetings

Decision followed resignation of board chair who expressed concerns over policy change

The policy around automatically ending school board meetings by 9 p.m. was the issue that pushed former chair and trustee Ian Hargreaves to resign recently.

It was no surprise perhaps that by the end of the Sept. 1 meeting, by which time Hargreaves had left, the board agreed to review the policy around adjournment time.

Trustee Janice Caton made a motion for the board’s policy committee to review Policy 4.15, specifically the part that spells out that board meetings are to end by 9 p.m. unless all members agree to extend the meeting.

Hargreaves had criticized some board members for pushing for this, suggesting some were thinking of their political futures or their own agendas.

Caton responded to some of these points when she made the motion, saying this was not the intent.

“I hope no one took offence by my motion,” she said.

She said the move does not guarantee the board will change the policy, only that they will have a discussion. Specifically, the motion suggests the board consider changing the requirement for unanimity to a requirement for a majority in order to extend a meeting.

“This motion is not saying that we actually change the policy,” she said. “We have in the past gone past nine o’clock.”

Hargreaves had noted the board brought in the policy to prevent ‘decision by exhaustion’ and that the board could reconvene the day after a meeting or a later date to finish a discussion.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley Schools board of education chair resigns

Trustee Sheila McDonnell said that there had been occasions over the years where extra discussion was necessary and that it made more sense to extend a meeting if they only needed a little extra time. She also said the practice, even with the 9 p.m. policy, was to put it to a motion rather than having the outcome “predetermined by one member.”

She reiterated Caton’s point that the board may ultimately keep the current policy.

“It’s a decision that should be made by the board collectively,” she said.

Most trustees supported sending the item to the policy committee. Trustee Michelle Waite, who sits on the policy committee, said she looked into some other districts’ policies. In one case, a district holds meetings to no later than 11 p.m. but can extend time by a majority vote. Another ends meetings by 10:00 p.m., with provisions to extend by half an hour if a two-thirds majority agrees, or go even later. She said there is variety among boards when it comes to policies around when to end meetings and how they can be extended.

At the vote, vice-chair Tonia Frawley, who was chairing the meeting after Hargreaves stepped down, was the only trustee to vote in opposition, explaining it was based on the content of the motion.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Comox ValleyEducation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mother bear and two cubs spotted in Crown Isle neighbourhood in Courtenay

Reduce the risk of an interaction by removing potential food sources

Mount Washington to open Dec. 4 with COVID-19 protocols in place

Reservations for some services, face coverings will be required

‘Bad blood’ over pathology issue, says Island Health medical director

Regional hospital district board pushes for pathology service in Courtenay, Campbell River

New Cumberland fire hall goes to rezoning hearing

Official community plan is also to be amended for the site

Suspect robs store, stabs clerk in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for suspect in Ryan Road incident

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets, week of Sept. 15

Beef to the gnome thief; bouquet to dental hygienists

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read