The North Delta Reporter sent school trustee candidates a list of six questions to gauge their positions on some of the major issues in the 2018 civic election campaign. We gave candidates a limit of 400 words total to answer. Here’s what Delta Voices candidate Andrea Hilder had to say:
(Note, all candidates’ answers have been edited for length, clarity and to conform with Canadian Press style, as required.)
1) Why are you running for school board?
I have been an advocate for children and families for 20 years. I want to take that advocacy to the school board so that I can improve things for students, staff and families in Delta. I am a non-Indigenous parent of an Indigenous student and an education assistant, so I have a good grasp of what is happening in our classrooms. I bring with me the voice of under represented groups of people within the district.
2) What, in your view, is the job of a school trustee?
Trustees are the governance of the school district. They make budget decisions — sometimes incredibly difficult ones — steer the district, and set the tone for senior staff, school staff, maintenance and operations staff and students.
3) What are the biggest challenges facing students today and what will you do to help kids to overcome them?
Students across all grade levels are experiencing record levels of stress. The new curriculum supports social emotional learning. I will continue to support full curriculum implementation across the district.
4) What is missing in our schools (for students as well as staff) and how do you plan to address those shortfalls?
Students, teachers and EAs, after more than a decade of drastic cuts, are not receiving the support they need. I will advocate for increased classroom supports. This helps both students and staff. Teachers’ and EAs’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions.
5) Many issues that come before the board boil down to a question of money: how/where best to spend the funds allocated to the district by the Ministry of Education. Do you think that the district is adequately funded by the province, and if not, how will you advocate for more money for Delta schools?
I do not think that any school district is adequately funded by the province. The previous BC Liberal government vilified public education and chronically underfunded the whole system. It is getting better, but we still have a long way to go. The new funding formula is still a mystery. My hope is that it will be an improvement over the current model. If not, I will work within the system to continue to push for per-pupil and district funding increases.
6) Barring additional funds from the province, how can the district best cover budget shortfalls or pay for projects/programs on its wish list?
Delta has done a great job of increasing enrolment and differentiating ourselves from other districts (e.g. the academy and international student programs). Continuing along that path and applying for grants and creative funding will help fund projects like tracks and playgrounds.
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20.