Why run for a trustee position?
Short answer: I believe I can do a good job, in a very important job. Longer answer: after my children’s school was closed in 2010, I realized that what decisions the school board makes actually matters. I got involved, and have found it fascinating, complicated, and important. I want to do my part to make the school system work for all our students, I want to work respectfully with our education partners, and I want people to be able to see and trust the decision-making process.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing SD57?
There’s never just one challenge in the school system. There are many important issues facing the Prince George school district, including the capacity of schools, implementation of new curriculum, changes to the funding formula, and the ongoing challenge of providing appropriate support to all our students. Dealing with these challenges requires collaboration, consultation, analysis, dealing with others with respect, using the money we have to our best advantage, and advocating for more funding.
Is the current curriculum preparing kids for success?
The revised curriculum was rolled out in 2016 for kindergarten to grade 9 students, and is being fully implemented this year for grades 10 to 12. We don’t know yet if this is proving to prepare students for success, but I have been encouraged by the amount of consultation and teacher involvement there has been in the preparation of the curriculum, and what I’ve heard from teachers to date. The board will need to assess how the revisions to the curriculum are working in practice.
Do you believe the new ward system will be effective?
There are some potential issues: trustees are elected to represent the district as a whole, but will have only one community electing them; there is a population imbalance between the communities and the representatives. On the other hand, there has long been a population imbalance when all trustees have come from Prince George. The new ward system was established by the Minister of Education, and the board now has the responsibility to make it work – and must, in good faith, work together for the district as a whole.
How should the funding formula look? The provincial government is reviewing it.
I agree with the statement of principles for the new funding model by Ministry and BCSTA, which are that the funding model be responsive (takes into consideration unique local requirement), equitable (comparable levels of service across the province), stable and predictable (multi-year planning!), flexible (respects local autonomy), transparent (uses clear methodology), and accountable (allocates in an efficient manner, ensures resources are being used as intended). It will be interesting to see if the new funding model makes dramatic changes that will lead to better student outcomes, or if it is a reshuffling of current funding (where some districts are winners and others are losers). Education is a priority and an increase in funding is important.