Board of Education Announcement

November 1st 2022

The School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) Board of Education is committed to positive, transparent, and accurate information sharing with the public. There has been ongoing negative and inaccurate communication on the part of Trustee Allan Gribbin throughout his first term as trustee and during his recent election campaign.

The following statements are intended to correct the false statements made by Trustee Gribbin, which have the potential to unfairly undermine the reputation and integrity of the Board. The Board of Education intends that this communication will assure members of the public that trustees are fulfilling their fiduciary duties, and make it clear that the comments from Trustee Gribbin outlined are not considered reflective of the views of other trustees, or the Board of Education as a whole.

Trustee Gribbin has stated that “our district has invited other First Nations onto Lower Kootenay Band territory to advance any land claims they want to make.” This statement is false. The Board of Education has no jurisdiction over land claims. The Board of Education does not have a mandate to involve themselves in land claim issues, nor does it do so.

Trustee Gribbin has stated that the Board is against de-amalgamation of the school district to make Creston a separate district. This is untrue; the Board has not expressed an opinion regarding de-amalgamation. Furthermore, in October 2021, the Board unanimously supported Chair Trenaman's motion to investigate the process for and impact of de-amalgamation.

The resulting report, including a letter from the Ministry of Education referencing the process to change district boundaries, was presented to the Board at their December 7, 2021 meeting held in the public (see file “2021 Dec 7 Public Meeting Item 10E report re impacts of de-amalgamation”). The conclusion: “Forming a new district would be costly to the taxpayer and the information indicates that a new district would be unlikely to provide a similarly specialized level of service as the current School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake), despite the additional funding / cost to the Minister of Education.”

Trustee Gribbin continues to assert that the Board does not allow local business owners to bid on contracts. This is untrue. The school district follows Policy 642: Procurement and Purchasing and AP 642.1: Administrative Procedure: Procurement and Purchasing. AP 642.1 states that SD8 “will purchase locally, whenever and wherever possible; however, the school district’s first consideration must be value for money spent. For this reason, local suppliers and contractors will be given preference only as other factors are equally comparable.” Ministry policy requires SD8 to follow best practice for public bodies seeking to engage in fair and transparent tendering and bidding processes.

Trustee Gribbin has misled the public related to the function and planning of Board meetings. All trustees have the ability to add items onto board meeting agendas. This is outlined in Board Policy 120: Board Meeting Procedures.

In order to improve accuracy and transparency, the Board will continue to correct any false or misleading statements.

About School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake):

School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) provides educational services to numerous diverse communities in the East & West Kootenays, including Crawford Bay, Creston, Kaslo, Meadow Creek, Nelson, Salmo, Slocan, South Slocan, Winlaw, Wynndel and Yahk. Its dedicated team focuses on providing the best possible educational opportunities for over 4,700 students and their families. Its mission is to focus on excellence for all learners in a nurturing environment.