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Sparking the debate 

To the editor,

I am writing in response to Stephen Kimber's article "Table manners." There are a number of inaccuracies in Kimber's article, which do not come as any surprise to me since I have not seen him at any school board meetings.

For the record (and it is on the record—the audio recording of the school board meeting of November 30, 2005), I stated that Doug Sparks should sit first in the order of seating since his district is comprised of the entire Halifax Regional School Board. Kimber failed to mention that Mr. Sparks would have actually moved closer to the front of the chambers as a result of the motion.

On January 18, 2006, the chair of the board, Wade Marshall, announced that the school board would take part in mediation. At the school board meeting on January 25, 2006, the board unanimously passed a motion to "maintain the confidentiality surrounding the mediation while the process is carried out." Later that week, board members began to meet with the mediator, Viki Samuels. It follows, then, that Kimber was incorrect in stating that the "mediation process isn't expected to even begin until late this month."

In my response to Kimber's email of February 17, 2006, I wrote that: "While I would be happy to speak with you regarding the Halifax Regional School Board, I hope we can wait until the Board has completed the mediation process which is currently underway." I did not wish to engage in discussion of the issues currently facing the board until the mediation process has concluded. I hope we can resolve the challenges we face, and get on to the business of supporting public education.

By Darren Watts


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