Committee to advise on potential merger of Masset schools

Haida Gwaii school trustees will get advice from a special public committee before they decide whether to merge Masset’s two schools into one building.

Chairperson Harmony Williams said the school board wants to directly involve the public — especially parents and guardians — in what will be a big decision for the north end.

“We’re notorious for not getting good participation at meetings, so I would really like to put this in our public’s hands, who are actually going to be impacted by this the most,” Williams said at the latest school board meeting on Sept. 26.

“I also don’t want us to give the impression to our community that this amalgamation is already happening,” she added.

“We’ve only had one meeting. We haven’t heard from everybody.”

Trustees voted to appoint a small, five-person working group to draft a plan for the special committee.

The group includes the principals at Tahayghen Elementary and Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay Secondary, plus one parent from each school’s Parent Advisory Council, and a representative of the Haida Nation.

Superintendent Dawna Day had suggested a committee with 17 members, including two students, teachers, district staff, parents, councillors for Old Massett and Masset, a member of the Council of the Haida Nation, and a member of the local RCMP.

Day also recommended that the committee give its advice in time for the trustees to decide on the potential merger in February.

But trustees said a 17-member committee was likely too large.

Williams also said it was important to give the public the first say on how the committee looks.

“I realize it may take a little bit of time, but if we start this off correctly right from the start, it will unroll in a way that everyone can feel included.”

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