Call it a matter of some well-timed housekeeping.
The School District No. 72 board has reviewed its practices around roles and responsibilities for the board as a whole, the chair and vice chair as well as the superintendent.
The alterations will clarify the elected positions and the senior management position for the school district.
The timing might be coincidental, though there are local government elections this fall, including the board of education, as well as a search for a new superintendent following the departure of Tom Longridge.
The changes were brought forward from the board’s governance policy committee at the Sept. 4 meeting. Trustee Richard Franklin discussed the suggestions coming before the board as a whole, describing them as “housekeeping.”
“Over the summer, the board governance policy committee has been busy working on a number of items,” he said. “A lot of them are to do with clarification.”
These included changes to board governance policy 1 (Role of the Board), policy 6 (Role of the Chair and Vice-Chair) and policy 11 (Role and Responsibility of the Superintendent).
“This is a notice of motion and they will be voted upon at the next meeting,” Franklin said.
The recommended amendments or additions to the policy 1 concerning the board are that the board is to oversee and approve employment contracts for the superintendent, assistant superintendent and secretary-treasurer and that the board approves all structural changes to the senior management team. The aim, Franklin said, was to make the wording more comprehensive and easier to understand.
For the chair and vice-chair, the changes include leading the board’s evaluation of the superintendent, assistant superintendent and secretary-treasurer, reporting these evaluations to the board and superintendent, assistant superintendent and secretary-treasurer and leading a monthly review and sign-off on all superintendent’s expenses, sick leave and holidays.
The changes to the policy for the superintendent include the regular evaluation of senior management, principals and vice-principals as well as ensuring the board is consulted on and approves all structural changes for the senior management team. Board chair Susan Wilson asked Franklin what was meant by “regular” evaluation. Franklin responded the committee did not specify set time frames for evaluation because there are factors that could help determine frequency such as where a person is in their career or what kind of support they need.
In the meantime, any feedback will go to the board’s policy review committee in order for the board to consider them when deciding on the policy changes at the Sept. 25 meeting.
The board is currently in the process of hiring a permanent replacement for the superintendent and hopes to have a decision by the middle of October. In the meantime, the district has contracted Jim Cambridge, former Sooke superintendent, to fill in as interim superintendent.
For the board, itself, Friday, Sept. 14 is the deadline for candidates to file their nomination for the election next month. The school district has set up a page on its website to provide any information for people interested in becoming trustees.
“I would encourage people to run for school trustee because if you have a passion for children, a passion for balancing all the competing interests, then this is the job for you,” trustee Daryl Hagen said at the last board meeting.