Palliser committee to select panel for external review

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The Board of Trustees of Palliser Regional Schools will move forward with an independent, external operational review of the school system after tasking a committee to select a three-member panel to conduct it.

At a regular board meeting Tuesday, trustees unanimously passed a motion that a panel of three members provide oversight and conduct an independent, external operational review of the Palliser Regional School system.

They also moved, unanimously, that Vice-Chair Robert Strauss, Trustees Craig Whitehead and Debbie Laturnus, and Secretary-Treasurer Wayne Braun form the committee to select a three-member panel to conduct the review. Four school council chairs representing various regions in the large school division will be consulted by the committee to ensure transparency of the process.

The board voted at its January meeting to ask the Minister of Education to provide oversight of the review in light of online allegations. At that time, Superintendent Kevin Gietz had asked the board to hold an independent investigation to clear the air and allow staff to focus on students and student learning.

At a subsequent meeting with Alberta Education officials, trustees were informed a review was the sole responsibility of the local board.

Although several trustees mentioned the need for transparency and to provide some form of protection for staff who might want to come forward, it was emphasized the terms of reference for the review and the processes it will follow must be determined by the panel selected to conduct the review.

The selection committee is expected to update the board on its progress at the next regular meeting in March 15.

Please note, the regularly scheduled meeting which was originally set for March 8 has been moved to March 15.