BROCKVILLE – A motion to look at relocating the Upper Canada District School Board offices to a more geographically-central location was quickly shot down by trustees at their April 12 meeting.
Ward 6 trustee Lisa Swan tabled the motion calling for an independent consultant to examine existing administration-used spaces including the central board office in Brockville, and potentially move or consolidate operations in North Grenville. Swan represents Edwardsburgh-Cardinal, Prescott, and North Grenville as trustee.
“I’d like us to have this feasibility study done,” Swan told the board, claiming that since the COVID-19 pandemic, more administration staff are working through a hybrid environment, split between work from home and a few days in the office.
She pointed out that many meetings the board holds are located in North Grenville at the Kemptville Campus (formerly Kemptville College) because it is central in the board and some board training takes place in that central location..
The motion was seconded by Ward 9 trustee Curtis Jordan who said it was worth looking at the location given the size of the board.
Swan’s motion was met with strong resistance from other trustees.
Ward 8 trustee David McDonald said he could not support the motion explaining that the merger of the four boards in 1998 was largely forced by the provincial government of the day.
“There was a lot of work done to select Brockville,” he said of the consolidation 25 years ago. “This isn’t a Taj Mahal space.”
McDonald continued that the Ministry of Education does not provide a lot of money for administration and that funds for the proposed study would have to be found from the budget. He added that he’d rather see money spent on students instead of feasibility studies.
Chair John McAllister also spoke against the motion.
“We’ve worked really hard in implementing the director’s work plan and the strategic plan. This would be a distraction to those goals.”
Swan argued the UCDSB board office is underutilized and could be sold to pay for a move to leased spaces in the more central location, like at Kemptville Campus.
“I just want to look at this opportunity,” she said.
Trustees voted down the motion with only Swan and Jordan supporting it.