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 Kids Matter candidate Bruce Reid 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 am running to continue to advocate for the needs of all students, especially for those who have been disadvantaged by underfunding.
2) What, in your view, is the job of a school trustee?
The first role of a trustee is to ensure that every student has the resources and opportunities to be successful in school and in life. The second responsibility is for staff. Our teachers and support staff have been considerably demoralized by the previous government, both in bargaining and disparaging comments about them by elected officials. We need to make sure that our school staffs feel valued and supported. Finally, it is the responsibility of trustees to attempt to see that the budgets are fair and represent the best interests of all who make up the school district.
3) What are the biggest challenges facing students today and what will you do to help kids to overcome them?
The biggest concern for education in Delta is ensuring that funding is in place to help all students succeed. As society and education is continually changing, I plan to continue working to cultivate schools that are safe, inclusive and innovative to meet the learning needs of all Delta residents today and in the future. I will continue to advocate for the priority of funding to be focused on student success.
4) What is missing in our schools (for students as well as staff) and how do you plan to address those shortfalls?
We do a good job for most students. But each student is an individual and we need more resources (staff as well as equipment) to ensure that students with special needs are given the opportunity to develop to their best ability. I plan to continue to advocate for more resources.
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?
Funding has improved under the new government and with teachers winning the court case, however, a lot of funding was lost under the past government. At this point, because of the efforts of school boards, funding is adequate, however we need to see education as an investment rather than an expense. Funding needs to be more than adequate. Advocacy happens all the time at the board level. The BC School Trustees Association and other stakeholder groups are also encouraged to keep the issue at the forefront.
6) Barring additional funds from the province, how can the district best cover budget shortfalls or pay for projects/programs on its wish list?
We have to continue being creative by encouraging groups to support education. We need to work closely with other governments, especially the City of Delta with cost sharing programs. We need to decrease our dependence on international student programs to make up for budget shortfalls. Using international student surpluses to fund value-added programs would make more sense.
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20.