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 independent candidate Val Windsor 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 public education for more than 45 years, serving in many different capacities in the education community. As a former teacher, president of the DTA and two-term Trustee, I bring a unique and useful perspective to the board. I would be honoured to continue serving as a school trustee in Delta.
2) What, in your view, is the job of a school trustee?
Trustees are elected to represent local priorities, values and expectations of the community and to continuously advocate for public education. They set the annual budget that drives staffing and programs that the district can offer. Trustees are charged with improving student achievement. Boards are directly accountable to the Delta residents that elected them. They are the public face of the school district.
3) What are the biggest challenges facing students today and what will you do to help kids to overcome them?
Today’s students have more pressure put on them from their peers and social media, thus creating increased anxiety and depression. I would like to see more sensory rooms and roots of empathy programs in elementary schools, for example, to help with these problems. Also, we need more elementary school counsellors. As these are budget proposals, I would be advocating for the funding that is needed.
4) What is missing in our schools (for students as well as staff) and how do you plan to address those shortfalls?
The provincial government has mandated a newly-revised curriculum for all grades, yet no extra funding has been provided to ensure its successful implementation. Teachers need in-service and release time to understand and incorporate the curriculum in their programs. Education assistants need in-service and release time to better understand the needs of the students with whom they work. Classrooms are lacking in up-to-date teaching materials. I will advocate for extra funding in the next budget to see that the training I have suggested is available to staff and that teaching materials are provided.
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?
Delta is not adequately funded by the province. As government provides the money, government is the most logical body for trustees to lobby for increased funding. We must continue to work together with other school boards through the BCSTA and with our stakeholder groups — teachers, CUPE, parents, administrators and others, and our local MLA. We need funding that will restore what has been cut from previous budgets.
6) Barring additional funds from the province, how can the district best cover budget shortfalls or pay for projects/programs on its wish list?
The international student program is a source of income that helps fund these items. District academies must operate on a neutral cost basis. We can seek corporate sponsorships as long as they fit with the administrative procedure AP 525. Such partnerships can complement but not replace public funding for education.
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20.