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COMMENTARY · 1st October 2011
Walter McFarlane
On Wednesday, September 28th, the Coast Mountain School District #82 held their monthly meeting in Terrace. Due to the hectic lives we lead, representatives from the Kitimat Daily and Terrace Daily were unable to have a reporter at the meeting. One of the topics at this meeting was the Enrolment report provided by Brent Speidel, a report which has interested our paper since the start of September.

Since the school year began, we have been receiving reports that classrooms in Kitimat, particularly in the areas of Grade 3 and Grade 5 are packed full. Earlier this year, we were told of students on wait lists who were able to make it into the classroom. However, a week after this, we were told of two families who moved to Terrace to get their children into Public Elementary School.

We asked School Board Chair, Berry Pankhurst while attending at the Enbridge forum in Kitimat on Tuesday, September 20th, if there was any truth to these reports . He replied that if the two families had left Kitimat because of the lack of room in the schools, this was not the reason. He told us the trusties had not been informed if it was, and, after checking in with administration, there is plenty of room in the schools. He also advised us to attend their Wednesday Meeting for further information.

After the meeting, we were able to receive a comment from Pankhurst concerning several of the important items at the meeting. However, he was unable to tell us much about the Enrolment Report. “We have hit our numbers, we are not up over anything that wasn’t projected and Speidel came within four students of what he projected in April,” said Pankhurst.

He was surprised to find out the Enrolment report was not in the package we were emailed. It was a hand out at the meeting. He suggested we contacted Carol Gangon to email it to us. We had already contacted Gangon to ask if there a recording available of the meeting, as there is a recording device used by the Secretary.

We were told they would look into it and they would contact us back, however they would not be able to provide us with minutes of the meeting until they were approved next month. We contacted Gangon for a copy of the enrolment report but it has not been forth coming. We asked Pankhurst if we could borrow his copy, however, he turned it over to the School Board for Shredding after the meeting like the rest of the Trustees do.

On September 30th, Merv Ritchie attempted to retrieve this document from the School Offices. He was told by Gangon it a preliminary report and she did not wish to release it without the accompanying commentary which was delivered verbally at the board meeting.

Why is this report so important?

The report is a public document and without knowing what is in it, we cannot ask the appropriate questions of Speidel. From the rumour mill, we have a few questions. From the brief Pankhurst gave us, we have a few questions, from the document, we will have a few more questions.

First off, Mayor Joanne Monaghan is telling people about many new families which are moving into Kitimat. Last years report broke down where all the students in school are. If there was not much change in the numbers, does this mean Monaghan is giving us false information or does it mean people are leaving the Hazeltons, Terrace, Thornhill and Stewart?

This would also tell us if the closure of Roy Wilcox Elementary School was still a good idea. If the reports we are receiving are true, there is not enough room in the schools.

However, the School Board Administration’s Actions, in hiding a public document provided at a public meeting, shows there is information in this document which they are trying to hide. We have been told we are going to receive a copy of the final document, towards the end of next week. We will be able to provide a further analysis at that time.
Enrolment report
Comment by BILL FRANKLIN on 9th October 2011
Ok, it has been 8 days since you wrote this article. Did you get the Enrolment report?