In your opinion what is the most critical issue facing the school board at this time and how do you plan on addressing it?
The Comox Valley School District is facing some significant and complex challenges: the Province continues to spend limited taxpayer resources to challenge the BC Supreme Court ruling on class size and composition; local teacher autonomy has been systematically undermined, beginning with the dismantling of the BC College of Teachers; and Provincial funding for our schools has not kept pace with our needs, leaving us in the unsavory position of off-loading more and more costs to parents, privatizing parts of our system, and cutting valuable programs. This is simply unacceptable as each of these issues directly impact the quality of our student’s learning environment, the time and special attention they can hope to receive from teachers, the educational opportunities available to them, and the success they will ultimately be able to achieve.
There is no one simple solution to these concerns, but I believe the incoming school board must first work to repair the strained relationships at the table. Harsh words have been exchanged, respect and trust have been lost, and we started this school year with a great deal of unproductive tension. I propose that a first step out of this quagmire is for all stakeholders to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that would express gratitude for the good work and passion each group provides, clarity on the roles each will play going forward, and a commitment to the shared goal of doing what is necessary to provide the best public education for our students. Only then can we begin having the frank, tough conversations we need to have.