School District No. 57 launched its online questionnaire today to involve the public regarding the Kelly Road naming decision, which the board will make April 28. Public meetings planned to gather input were scrapped earlier this month due to public health initiatives limiting gatherings to less than 50 people, due to COVID-19 concerns.
While the district cancelled the public meetings, pausing the name change process is not happening, even while the pandemic seems to be bringing most things to a halt.
“We had conversations with our contractor, with our architect, and with our purchasing department,” said Tim Bennett, board of education chair. “The school needs to be ready with enough time for staff and maintenance and facilities people to get in and get it ready for the first day of school. We’ve been told May 1 is the date a decision needs to be made. It’s not just lettering on a building. There are a lot things that need to be purchased and installed that require a name.”
The online process is gather input from the public on how to incorporate the indigenous name Shas Ti while preserving the Kelly Road name in the newly-constructed school, which will open in September.
The questionnaire will take 15-20 minutes to complete. There will be some demographic data collected but most of the questions are open ended.
“We want people to give some thought to the questions they are answering,” he said. “These were all designed by our engagement working group in a way for us to collect important feedback, not only about the name, but how we can incorporate our commitment to truth and reconciliation (with indigenous people) and honouring the history of Kelly Road.”
The questionnaire is open to the entire community, not just residents of the Hart.
“It can be completed by anyone who believes they have an interest in the conversation around potential renaming,” said Bennett.
The questionnaire will close on April 17, the data compiled and a recommendation will go before the April 28 board meeting. A synopsis of the results will form part of the package at that board meeting, which means it will be public.
“The timelines are tight but we wanted to keep it open as long as possible so we could gather as much data as possible prior to the April 28 meeting,” said Bennett.
The engagement plan was guided by the Engagement Process Working Group – a collaborative advisory group with representatives from: KRSS students, KRSS staff, Lheidli T’enneh Elders, Lheidli T’enneh staff, CUPE, PGDTA, KRSS PAC, KRSS Alumni, School District 57 Board, School District 57 Office of the Superintendent.
The online questionnaire can be found on the school district website or directly at bit.ly/KRSSengage