The newly elected English School District Board of Trustees is demanding an apology from Education Minister Dale Kirby for remarks made against one of its members.
The board held a meeting over the weekend at Waterford Valley High in St. John’s.
Among the issues discussed was a letter sent from Minister Kirby to Board of Trustees Chair Goronwry Price.
In it, Kirby outlined his concerns about public comments made by fellow trustee Jennifer Aspell about the extension to Mobile Central High School. On VOCM Openline with Paddy Daly, Aspell raised questions about water quality in the area, the timeline for the project, and escalating costs. At the time, Kirby called her comments “irresponsible”.
The minister reminded board members about the guidelines related to trustees expressing their opinions in public forums.
Trustee Peter Whittle says it’s important for trustees to speak freely about the issues affecting their zones, and the current legislation guiding their actions is too limiting.
He says trustees can’t live in culture of fear where if they make a comment that’s not welcome at the senior level their character is publicly assassinated, and since trustees are elected to represent people in a region they should have more freedom to come out against government decisions that negatively impact their regions.
Chair Goronwy Price, says when individual trustees come out against government, it puts him in a bit of a quandry, but he acknowleged the current legislation may be outdated.
He calls it a balancing act between the individual demands of trustees and the advocacy role of the board.