I am writing to let the Comox Valley know that I will not be running for re-election as a school trustee on October 20. It is important for me to make a space for a new face on the board of Comox Valley Schools. There are seven school trustee vacancies for the fall election, and I would urge younger members of the community — especially those of you who are passionate about public education and the future of our community’s schools — to stand as candidates. The school board needs a good balance of younger people who can provide a much-needed new perspective on what students need. Look around your neighbourhood and in the mirror to identify fresh candidates for elected public office.
There have been many highlights in my four years on the board and they will be remembered for a long time. I’m very proud of the board adopting a policy on the establishment of community schools in SD 71. We have had three community schools in SD 71 for several years, but no policy on which their designation is based. We now have that policy in place and at least one school has expressed interest in becoming a community school under that policy.
Two years ago, we appointed a new superintendent who has brought a welcome fresh view of governance and administration to the school district. His efforts seem to be paying off.
During two years on the board, trustees — due to provincial government cutbacks and declining enrolment — passed budgets that were totally inadequate for student needs. Then, the Supreme Court of Canada supported the B.C. teachers in their position that the province had illegally cancelled major parts of their collective agreement. Suddenly, our budgets start to more accurately reflect the needs of students, teachers and school administration.
The Supreme Court decision - and a new government that is committed to implementing all the Court’s decision - has provided a fresh, positive outlook for public education in the Comox Valley.
Trustees are often busy with committee work, reading reports, and attending meetings. A highlight for me was getting into schools, visiting with teachers, students and parents and observing what is going on in the classroom. And what our teachers are doing with students and parents is simply amazing. What a dedicated and competent group of professionals who are making public education work for kids in the Comox Valley.
Attending PAC meetings and listening to concerns from parents and the community at the school level is always a treat. It is in the neighbourhood school community where the action is and should be. Parents who make an effort to be part of a PAC are indeed valuable community members.