School trustee denies confidence breach

School district 33, Chilliwack, Silvia Dyck, Doug McKay, busing fees

Chilliwack school trustee Silvia Dick says she’ll take legal action if she doesn’t get an apology from board chair Doug McKay following his allegation she leaked information improperly from a district finance meeting.

During her trustee report, at Tuesday night’s board meeting, Dyck defended her actions and said she would seek legal advice if she did not receive an apology for what she called slander.

“The threatening, intimidating and just inaccurate information cited by trustee McKay shows a lack of respect for the community and an attempt to silence trustees,” she said. “This is not the first time McKay has attempted to bully and threaten those who hold other points of view.”

The dispute first began last week after Dyck had reported information regarding a $6 million accumulated surplus, which included funds obtained through student busing fees, that were discussed in a finance committee meeting.

Finance committee meetings are closed meetings. According to senior administration, information in those meetings is not to be publicized until after it’s been presented at a public meeting.

McKay released a statement to the media on Monday stating that Dyck’s comments were out of line, inaccurate, and did not represent the board as a whole. Further, he said Dyck had broken long-standing process in the district.

But on Tuesday, Dyck said the information she spoke of was not confidential, it was common knowledge.

She had reported an estimated $35,000 surplus of busing fees.

“Do the math,” she said after the meeting. “We know how many students we have, we know how much money we’re collecting for transportation, and we know how much money the government is giving us. This information is all out there.

“I will not be silenced by bullying behaviour and I expect an apology.”

McKay did not respond at the meeting to Dyck’s comments.

Meanwhile, the source of the conflict – student busing fees – were sidelined for another meeting.

Staff have been directed to report back to the finance committee meeting on Nov. 1 with a detailed account of the transportation fees, including which students are exempt from the fees, and the exact surplus dollar figure obtained from those fees.

The board will then look at options for whether or not to continue charging for busing.

The school district has been charging $200 per child, up to $600 per family, to ride the bus since September 2010.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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