May Day, the 142-year-old New Westminster tradition, has taken a few hits recently.
First, New West teachers, who are basically mandated to offer dance lessons for the day, have said the annual event takes too much instruction time from students.
Second, students themselves - 185-plus apparently - have been calling in sick instead of sitting through the last few soggy May Days.
Now an elementary school has planned a field trip on May Day, which means some Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary students won't be at the annual spring event that costs the school district about $10,000 a year.
All of this uncertainty has prompted school trustee Lisa Graham, a lifelong New Westministerite and self-proclaimed May Day fan, to reach out to the com-munity for input on ways to improve on the longstanding city event.
She brought a motion to the board of education's recent meeting, asking the board to begin a public consultation on May Day.
Graham fears that May Day is being "slowly and systematically eliminated," she wrote in her motion's rationale. While Graham is pro-May Day, she isn't averse to changes that would enhance participation in the event.
"But I am opposed to decisions that diminish the event," she wrote.
Trustee Casey Cook warned Graham that if May Day goes out for public consultation, she might not like what she hears.
Instead of voting on Graham's motion, trustees have forwarded it to a school district committee.
"I think we need to flesh it out a lot more, and the committee is the place to do that," Cook said. "We should send this to committee for a report from staff."
During the May Day discussion, trustee Michael Ewen said people have told him they don't like that May Day is held on a school day.
"I have said for 30 years now, why don't we have it on the weekend?" he said.
Superintendent John Woudzia said it might make sense for the district to hire a professional consultant for something of this magnitude.
Board of education chair James Janzen warned against forgetting other May Day participants.
"We have partners in this - the city and Hyack," he said. "We don't want them to feel we are hijacking what has been for many, many years a collaborative process."
New Westminster's May Day is the longest-running May Day celebration in the British Commonwealth.
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