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SD46 board says goodbye to graduating student trustee

Also, 275 scholarships and bursaries at a total of approximately $340,000 have been awarded to graduating students and other briefs from the June 8 school board meeting
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At the last board meeting of the school year, Sunshine Coast School District No. 46 (SD46) trustees gathered for a mostly in-person meeting. 

For student trustee Matthew Douglas, it was the senior’s last meeting as he plans to graduate with the Class of 2022. As he wraps up his second and final term on the board, he said he now knows how he can help the school district. Douglas said he hopes to write curriculum, particularly for environmental education and sustainability, in a way that does not overwhelm students.

“I've really appreciated being able to represent the student voice because I recognize how important of a thing it is,” he said. 

In his full good-bye, presented in the meeting’s agenda, Douglas said, “Through being on the DSLT [District Student Leadership Team] and working on the board of trustees, I have gained such a greater appreciation and understanding of education. Despite the certain… craziness of the past two years, I recognize just how much I have learned that extends past the binomial theorem. I have learned about organization, the importance of the first 18 years of one’s life, and the possibilities of future generations as long as you give them the power to grow. I will forever be grateful for the time that I have spent in School District 46. I have received nothing but support, and I will frankly really miss being with you all.”

The board thanked Douglas for his humour and leaving behind big shoes to fill.

Scholarships awarded

Many members of the Class of 2022 will be graduating with a leg up, thanks to scholarships and bursaries that have been awarded to SD46 students. 

Superintendent Kate Kerr proudly reported more than 275 scholarships and bursaries have been awarded to graduating students. At a total of approximately $340,000 this year, the funds came from 140 donors. 

“It really is incredible, being on the Sunshine Coast and how giving our community is,” Kerr said as she thanked the community for supporting students and their futures.

Kinnikinnick PAC’s construction concerns

The Kinnikinnick Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) wrote to the school board about a serious concern: the lack of safe walking and cycling routes to the elementary school while the District of Sechelt begins construction for active transportation options. 

In a letter to SD46, the PAC said they welcome the planned upgrades, but say the extensive construction may last for at least a year and heighten current safety challenges on roads that are close to steep ravines and have no sidewalks, crosswalks or bike lanes. 

“Without a doubt, the roads around Kinnikinnick are a tragic accident waiting to happen,” the letter states. 

The PAC is asking for additional bus stops and/or bus capacity for the students who live within the two-kilometre radius of the school. They say families without vehicles have “no option but to send their children onto unsafe roads that are about to become even less safe.”

Vice-chair Maria Hampvent made a motion to request staff to bring a short report to the June operations committee about the number of families affected in the two-kilometre radius and suggest options to act on in time for the upcoming fall term. Hampvent said the motion aligns with the district’s “commitment to removing barriers to access our schools,” and stressed that they can’t wait. 

“For me, it's definitely concerning that students and students with limited mobility are unable to get to one of our schools’ safely,” Hampvent said.

There was some discussion about the proper process to approach the issue and what action the board can take. Secretary-treasurer Nicholas Weswick said the issue is being worked through the operation side, and alternatives are being explored. He added that discussion at an operations committee would typically happen, but the timing (of summer break) doesn’t allow that.

When the motion was defeated, the board voted to communicate with the Sunshine Coast Regional District and the District of Sechelt to advocate for safety during the course of construction.