By all accounts, Garden Valley School Division's (GVSD) pre-budget meeting on Tuesday was a success.

"It was fantastic!" said Board Chair, Leah Klassen, noting they had a great turnout. Part of that, she noted, was due to a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) orientation held prior to the consultation. "We had a session on the role of PACs and what their responsibilities are, what the Board responsibilities are, and then we invited the PAC members to stay, and we had about half of them stay." A few members of the public also joined in on the pre-budget session. 

Klassen was asked if this new format brought in more members of the public than in the past. 

"I'm not sure if there's more public," she said, noting in the past the Board held had a separate PAC session, a separate municipal leaders' session and then an open public session. However, Klassen feels this new format is something the Board will consider in future years. 

The annual consultation was moved up from February based on feedback it received indicating it was too late in the budget planning process.

"As a board, we'll take feedback back and we'll discuss what other trustees thought, what their feedback was at the table in regard to the process and certainly consider that," said Klassen. "I think overall though, the practice is more transparent this way. We are able to actually receive some feedback on the budgeting process prior to starting. So, we're not presenting the budget, we're asking for input on the budget, and I think as trustees, we feel good about that process."

Now, trustees and administrators will come together to discuss the feedback that was gleaned from the session. 

"I didn't see anything glaringly obvious on different things but of course, the child nutrition program came up, how's that going to work? Busing is always a hot topic. Those types of things were certainly on the table," explained Klassen. 

Up next, trustees will meet with area municipal leaders as part of the process. 

~ With files from Pam Fedack ~


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