Prospective trustees for School District #83 laid out their claim to the position Oct. 12 during an all-candidates forum in Salmon Arm at the Fifth Avenue Senior’s Activity Centre.
Questions asked included why the candidates were running for the position of trustee, what education means to them and how they plan to balance the needs of their region with the needs of the entire school district.
Nine of 10 candidates vying for the two Salmon Arm seats attended the forum, along with two candidates running for one seat for Electoral Area 2, which includes Sicamous. Marcel Bedard, running for a Salmon Arm position, was unable to attend due to prior obligations.
A common thread from all candidates regarding the question of balancing regional needs with those of the school district was to focus on gathering input from stakeholder groups, and to encourage those groups to come forward with concerns whenever they arise.
Related: Getting to know the school trustee candidates in Salmon Arm
Marianne VanBuskirk suggested, “Our geographical region is unique, and we need to make those outlying regions feel included. That means rotating school board meetings so they feel more heard in the district.”
Jenny Vachon said, “We need to engage with the parents who will eventually be running for the role of trustee themselves, by listening to everyone in a team approach.”
Dale Townsend asserted that, “While the board of trustees has significant authority, the individual trustee has almost none. I would visit the schools, because consultation, I believe, is best seen by being present with those groups.”
Terry-Mae Sinclair said, “I would like to understand where the gaps are and why, I don’t think there should ever be an ‘us or them’ situation. Communicating with all parties involved is imperative.”
Dan Shields suggested a change may be in order for how the district is represented at the trustee level. He said, “I don’t like the way our board is represented, I don’t like that 10 people are running for two spots; I think the five best people should be elected to represent the entire district. And I don’t think it’s that hard for most of us to go to other communities to visit the outlying schools.”
Jordan Ross commented, “Proactive communication is crucial. You have to have strong leadership and consensus, and take that decision as a board and move it forward.”
Lawren Richards stated, “We have North Shuswap kids being bused to Salmon Arm; that should tell us that regional concerns are the concern of the district. I also plan to be an advocate for changing the provincial funding model to better reflect the reality of this district.”
Donald Podlubny said, “I will make myself available to parent advisory councils, and I want to be available when you want me available and not be imposing. Every concern is a district concern…, we have to make decisions based on what gets the maximum benefits.”
Amanda Krebs remarked, “We have to listen to all perspectives and concerns. We have to make hard decisions and take the whole district into account. We want to be actively listening to people from Sorrento to Armstrong, we have to make sure the partner group table stays active.”
Related: Meet School District 83 trustee candidates at Friday forum in Salmon Arm
Related: Trustee recommends reducing school board to five members
Voting day is this Saturday, Oct. 20.
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Salmon Arm Observer