News

Qualicum district board chair calls it quits

At least two of the current District 69 school board trustees will not be running again in the Nov. 15 election.

"I've decided not to seek another term," chair Lynette Kershaw told The NEWS.

She cited family reasons, and said "the four year term is daunting and I have to put time into my own family fishing business."

"I like to do things 150 per cent, I've enjoyed my time and learnt a whole lot, but it's time to move on," she said of the steep learning curve she faced, especially being elected by the rest of the board as chair for what was her first term.

"Not withstanding the the current labour situation I think this board and district are poised for some good things."

She said she hopes they "are able to attract good, level headed people," to the next board to continue the work they have been doing and encourages anyone considering running to stop in to their casual Sept. 25 information session, 7 p.m. in the PCTC Forum, where board and city council meetings are held.

She said that while it wouldn't have stopped her from running, it would have been good to have a better understanding of the time commitment and board procedures before the last election.

During last Tuesday's school board meeting trustee Ross Milligan also announced he would not run again. Citing personal reasons he said "I've enjoyed the process... I would have liked to continue on but I can't."

The two trustees where part of the Oceanside Communities for Quality Education group formed to fight the proposed closure of Kwalikum Secondary School in late 2010.

Four members from that group were elected to the five person board in Nov. 2011, including Barry Kurland, who has said he will run again, and Julie Austin, who has been out of town and hasn't declared her intentions.

The board faced tough issues, closing four elementary schools at the end of last year due to declining enrolment and funding.

Milligan said that on his way out he would like to push for an increase in trustee remuneration to help attract candidates.

While sitting boards cannot increase their own pay, at their last meeting before the summer they voted to increase the board renumeration budget by 39 per cent to have it available if they decide on an increase from $9,720 a year to the provincial average of $13,500. The chair's renumeration would go up to $16,500.

The fifth current board member, Eve Flynn has declared her intention to run again. She has served 12 years, including time as board chair.

The nomination period to run for the board is open Sep. 30 to Oct. 10. Information and the required paperwork are available at the school board office in Parksville.

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