The 2017 provincial election is officially underway, offering a very short, but important opportunity to talk about what matters to British Columbians. Between the news cycle and political advertising, voters will be hearing many competing ideas about a lot of issues in the province, and I am hopeful that education will feature prominently among them until voters make their decision on May 9.
In my role as Board Chair and Trustee, my decisions are always measured against a single important question: is the choice I’m making the right one for students? While there will always be competing interests, whether I’m dealing with staffing, advocacy, policy or connections in the broader community, being mindful of the answer to that question has always featured highly, and never steered me wrong.
Whether you are a parent yourself, a member of our staff, or one of the many citizens with a voice in this election who don’t currently have children in the system, we all have a stake in a strong public education system, because the benefits of supporting well educated citizens flow to everyone.
Many of the students I’ve seen graduate from our schools go on to do amazing things – some of them here in the community, and some further afield. Everything they do while they’re in our care is a responsibility that Trustees and staff take very seriously, knowing we are preparing students for a world that grows in complexity each year. In the time I’ve been involved with the Board, I’ve had the privilege of seeing first-hand what our students can accomplish, not only in their classrooms, but in the community at large, and I am more convinced than ever that everyone in society benefits when students come first.
Turning to one of the issues that is likely to feature significantly in the minds of voters and candidates this election, we are working with our local teachers’ union to have new staff in place this coming September, using funding allocated to the district to address class size and composition. The province has announced that our share of the funding will be $2.8 million, and it is our goal to ensure, as we always have, that we continue to use public funding to meet the needs of students in our classrooms.
We are currently working to finalize our budget and allocate staff for the 2017-18 school year and we know that we will have more classroom teachers and more non-enrolling staff going forward. Additional services in our schools is good news for our students and for everyone involved with education.
Carolyn Broady, Chair