The school board has hired a principal from the Stikine school district to help consult the public as it considers rearranging the number of trustee seats to better reflect the Haida population.
The consultant, Inder Mehat, visited the islands last month, holding introductory meetings with the school board and the Skidegate Band Council, said vice-chair Wayne Wilson.
“It was very positive, I think Inder was a very good choice,” Mr. Wilson said at last week’s school board meeting (Feb. 3). “He knows a lot about what we’ve asked him to undertake.”
It’s the first time that any school district in BC has considered changing trustee representation in order to boost the number of aboriginal trustees, Mr. Wilson said.
Mr. Mehat will be returning to the islands for a series of public meetings, one in each community, he said.
The school district has a $12,500 budget for this process – $5,000 from the aboriginal education branch and $7,500 from the BC School Trustees Association.
There are seven trustees on the school board at the moment, one from each community on the islands. That means the Haida communities of Old Massett and Skidegate have two votes out of seven when it comes to school board decisions, even though more than half the students in the district are Haida.
Meanwhile, school board chair Andreas Uttendorfer promised a “very transparent and open process”, and said the public does not need to fear that the board will make decisions behind closed doors.
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