Public Consultation, authorized by the School Act, must address ...

The BC School Opening and Closure Order (authorized by the BC School Act), Section 5, requiring that the Public Consultation Process includes:

(a) a fair consideration of the community’s input and adequate opportunity for the community to respond to a board’s proposal to close the school permanently;

(b) consideration of future enrolment growth in the district of persons of school age, persons of less than school age and adults; and

(c) consideration of possible alternative community use for all or part of the school.

See SCHOOL OPENING AND CLOSURE ORDER, BC Ministry of Education, Governance and Legislation Branch E-95 October 15, 2009, Authority: School Act, section 73 and 168 (2)(p)

We, community members of similar mind, advocate that Public Consultation Processes to address proposals to close schools permanently be a minimum of one year after all necessary information has been made available.

Access to information allows people to examine the data for verification and also to better understand the strengths and weaknesses in the methods and models.

Therefore, it is necessary that all the information, data and modelling methods, used to justify recommendations to close a school, be made available to the public, including all the information used by consultants.

Also, the data must be made available to the public in the same format used by the consultant(s). For example, data will be made available in machine readable formats for spreadsheets such as .csv or .xls. The .pdf format only is not acceptable.

It may be the case that not all important information was used in the Facilities Review. For example, only 5 years of historical data may have been used, limiting historical knowledge. Therefore, requests for information not included in the Facility Review must be accommodated. For example, requests for historical data prior to five years must be made available.

Artificial limitations can not be imposed. For example, the administration staff cannot stipulate that individuals with questions are required to be a part of a focus group and told that the requested information will only be provided if the focus group members agree.

Answers must be clear, and well explained. Partial answers with poor qualification must be corrected. For example, historical data with differences in labelling between years must be explained.

After the information has been made available and clearly explained, then the Public Consultation Process must allow adequate opportunity for the community to participate in developing proposals of possible alternative community use for all or part of the school.

Since this would take School District staff and Board members many months if not years to do themselves (we are often told by staff that opening schools takes many years) the community will have a minimum of one year to present proposals in order to have adequate opportunity to respond.

Relevant information (data and modelling methods) must be made available before the Public Consultation Process can be considered to have begun.

What are these Qualicum School District, Facilities Review, Information Sessions (QSDFRIS)?

Since there are so many topics to address regarding the QSDFReview, many concerned citizens began asking many questions, in an effort to understand the challenges and to help find alternatives to school's permanent closures. Since the responses from the QSD admin staff were less than accommodating, people have taken the initiative to share information and findings. Thus began the QSDFRInformation Sessions.

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