Monday, May 21, 2012

NVPAC Executive: 2012/13

I'd like to thank all of those that came out to our 2012 Annual General Meeting. 

For those that missed it, we're sorry to have missed you all. 

The meeting summarized a number of issues and events over the past year and discussed some of our plans for next. For next year, 3 of our initiatives will look at delivering Parent Education seminars, conducting a Parent Survey and working on a District-wide look at PAC supported IT in Schools.

I would like to thank all of the volunteers that have stepped up to help us with these initiatives and I look forward to working with all of them and all North Van PACs on these next year.

NVPAC Executive: 2012/13
Chair: David Whitehead
Vice-Chair: Todd Dea
Treasurer: Mike Sexsmith
Secretary: Jane Lagden Holborne
Registrar: Janice Sardari
Program Facilitator: Vivienne Megas
Member at Large - Parent Survey: Judy Clarke
Member at Large - IT initiatives: Michael Ouchi
Member at Large - IT initiatives: Craig McMahon
Member at Large - Outdoor School: Susanne Till
BCPAC Liason: Open Position

Arrangements still need to be made but look for our first general meeting and our first parent education seminar in October. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

The DNV needs to work with NVSD not block them

The District of North Vancouver Council have decided to block any use of school lands for non-school purposes. The DNV needs to work with the NVSD rather than block them.

In response to the School Board opening discussions on what to do with its 11 surplus properties the District of North Vancouver Council has effectively decided that school property in the DNV may only be used as a school, in perpetuity, end of discussion. 

As reported in the North Shore Outlook.

As a result of this the School District now has very few options for its assets, assets that could be used to renew the schools required by North Van students. So instead of the North Vancouver School District using sales or leases of some of its properties to improve and provide good school environments for our students the District of North Vancouver has decided to block most of the options the School District has to raise funds. Without the capital needed to sustain them this may lead to the slow decline of our existing schools.

If the Outlook's report is correct, the councillors were concerned that the School District might act without consulting them first. What the DNV needs is a consultation process rather than a rule that effectively eliminates any option for future discussion. With this move, Council have effectively lost the ability to work with the School District without first repealing the bylaw. 

The NVSD needs to sort out what to do with its surplus properties. All sides of these plans need to be considered and the DNV should weigh each issue individually. A blanket ban does not help. This new policy is a recipe for declining public school facilities, private school expansion (as the only permissible tenants) and vacant lands. 

Rather than this unproductive policy, the DNV should get back to working with the School District and the community to sort out a plan that meets the capital and operational needs of the School District while maintaining as much flexibility and value for the land as possible. It will be a difficult discussion but this topic needs to be discussed fully rather than avoided.