“Members of the North Okanagan-Shuswap school board have been fired by the British Columbia government over financial troubles and a loss of public confidence.
The dismissal comes with the release of a special advisory report saying the board transferred $10 million from its operating surplus funds to pay for projects such as the construction of a new school district office.
The report noted three of the nine trustees had already handed in their notices of resignation and that board meetings had degenerated to the point where there was little decorum hampering business.
It also said the board lacked the skills for operational oversight. There was no financial expertise, trust among trustees was lacking, as was the perceived transparency.”
The report makes interesting reading:
For example, the consultant’s review included interviews with a broad range of stakeholders, and some descriptions of the board’s functioning included dysfunctional, disrespectful, frustrating, a zoo, and a gong show.
Some recommendations are meant to be taken by all boards, and include (among many other recommendations):
- Unless there is a clearly sensitive matter for discussion involving only the Trustees (e.g., staff performance evaluations, potential litigation, Board governance assessments), Board business should be conducted in a public setting.
- Recent Board meetings have been well attended, and many questions have been asked from constituents. We understand the Trustees have not always responded directly to those questions, and that on occasion insensitive comments/reactions may have been made. Protocol should be established to ensure that all questions are responded to fully and with proper intent. At times, meeting timelines may not always allow for sufficient time to properly respond to all questions. In these situations, alternate mechanisms should be established to ensure adequate responses are provided in response to the public’s questions.