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 Achieving for Delta candidate Daniel Boisvert 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 two children who each attend public school in Delta. I am running for school board to make a positive difference in my community and to give back to the citizens of Delta who have given me so much.
2) What, in your view, is the job of a school trustee?
There are seven trustees to be elected and their job is to work together putting aside any differences, prejudices or politics to act collectively in the best interests of public education. No one trustee is more important than any other. I believe that through honest collaboration we, as Delta’s school board, can deliver on even more than we collectively promised in this election campaign. As a united team of trustees, we can make public education in Delta a beacon for other school districts to follow. We already live in one of the greatest cities in the world. Together we can make it better by educating our children to be the great leaders of tomorrow.
3) What are the biggest challenges facing students today and what will you do to help kids to overcome them?
I think it depends whose perspective you are considering. If you ask students, parents and teachers you will probably get three different answers. And that is not a bad thing. It also highlights what I think is the biggest challenge for kids. Are we listening to all parties and making sure everyone is a part of the conversation on public education? I want to build consensus amongst all stakeholders in public education by ensuring that all voices are heard. From there we can build a plan that ensure our kids have the tools to overcome not only the challenges they face each day at school but to overcome the challenges they will always face in everyday life.
4) What is missing in our schools (for students as well as staff) and how do you plan to address those shortfalls?
What I hear from parents the most is the lack of extracurricular activities. Parents believe that those programs have been lost over time. Achieving for Delta has committed to looking into these programs to see if we can bring back a more robust selection of activities for children.
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?
Public education is drastically underfunded according to most people you speak with. They would also say that under funding is a problem that will likely persist well into the future. Advocacy is certainly a part of the process to improve funding for public education but I also think people have to be willing to work within the current reality. We must be prudent with every dollar and constantly search for ways to find cost savings without taking away from our children’s education.
6) Barring additional funds from the province, how can the district best cover budget shortfalls or pay for projects/programs on its wish list?
Hard choices will need to be made if there is a budget shortfall; that is the simple reality. Hopefully when the new funding formula is announced shortly, school boards will be pleasantly surprised that it allows for an increase of funds rather than a shortfall.
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20.