By Lorene Keitch
In a community of such passion and pride, it was hard to believe the lack of attendance at last weeks school board public hearing (see page 3 for the related story).
Was it a lack of interest? Doubtful. The proposed changes would see a big shift in Invermere, with kindergarten to Grade 7 students split between two schools close to each other. The public hearing last October saw 40 residents speak out. The ongoing discussion on social media provides evidence of interest.
Was it a lack of information? Maybe. The revised draft plan was posted to the school board website April 11th, not that it is a website parents seek out just to see whats new. However, there was also an almost full-page ad in The Pioneer with the details of the meeting.
Was it, as one concerned parent suggested after the meeting, because local parents simply dont feel their voice is being heard and so there is no point in attending another meeting? Perhaps. Several cited how the concerns raised at the first public hearing did not appear to be reflected in the revised draft plan.
But here is the point. The public hearing was planned because the trustees wanted to seek further input. They scheduled hearings in Kimberely, Golden and Invermere for just that purpose. If a citizen does not feel their voice is being heard, the reaction should be to speak out more, shout louder, to get your point across, and not to ignore the issue and hope it goes away.
While the lone speaker questioned the wisdom of using her familys time to attend the meeting, she did make the choice to show up and let her concerns be known.
If you dont like the outcome of this long-term facility plan, dont say its because there was no opportunity for public input. Own up to your own choice to not attend when there was a chance to speak up, and then live with the consequences of your inactions.