It was a committee of 12 that was supposed to meet for the first time on Jan. 30.
But the newly formed New Westminster school district calendar committee may have as many as 22 members and won't meet until after Jan. 30 after a spirited debate at Tuesday night's committee of the whole meeting.
With the province allowing districts to determine their own school calendar - which allows for year-round schooling options - the New Westminster school district has until March 31 to submit its 2013-14 school calendar.
Superintendent John Woudzia was to have convened the first meeting of the calendar committee at 4 p.m. on Jan. 30, but several school trustees wanted to see more parental representation on the committee.
"There's a large preponderance of groups representing employees," said Cook. "We should have more people representing the 7,000 parents and students in the district."
Cook pointed out that parents have different concerns depending on how old their children are.
"Parents of a 16-year-old may want to know how their children can schedule summer jobs and parents of a seven-year-old may be trying to figure out how to plan summer vacations," said Cook. "There's a whole myriad of different perspectives that need to be represented."
The committee was originally scheduled to have two members each from six different stakeholder groups: CUPE Local 409; New Westminster Teachers' Union; New Westminster Principals and Vice-Principals Association; New Westminster DPAC; exempt administration; and non-exempt administration.
CUPE Local 409 president Marcel Marsolais said one-third of CUPE members who work in New Westminster schools live in the city and they would be representing both the interests of employees and local parents.
Trustee Lisa Graham agreed with Cook, saying she would like to see more representation from students and parents from the elementary, middle and high school levels.
Trustee MaryAnn Mortensen, participating via conference call, then suggested the school board look at expanding the membership of the committee.
Mortensen proposed having four parents of elementary school students, two parents of middle school students, two parents of high school students, a representative from New Westminster parks, culture and recreation and a member from the New Westminster business community, added to the committee, which would bring the number of members to 22.
That motion passed by a 4-2 vote, with trustees David Phelan and Jonina Campbell, citing the short time frame and the fact the committee composition could still be talked about at the now-delayed Jan. 30 meeting, voting against it. James Janzen was not present for the vote.
That means school trustees will have to vote on whether to accept that recommendation at its next meeting, on Jan. 29, with Woudzia then having to schedule a new date for the calendar committee meeting for some time thereafter.
Woudzia also expressed concern about the short time frame to get consensus before the March 31 deadline.
Some of the issues the committee would be looking at would include whether the district wants to go to a two-week spring break - currently only New Westminster and Burnaby in the Lower Mainland have a one-week spring break - and whether the district would like to go to a year-long calendar, much like a school in Maple Ridge has been for several years.
Woudzia pointed out that New Westminster already has an alternate program, POWER, which operates on a 12-month calendar, and has done so for the past 17 years.
Local parent Paul Johansen said one thing the committee may need to look at is whether changing the calendar would affect school sports and different tournaments that have to be scheduled during the course of a year.
School board chair Michael Ewen said even if the committee is unable to come up with an alternative school calendar that all parties are agreeable to, the district could still submit a status quo calendar before the March 31 deadline.