1. – What is the most important issue facing the Board of Education, and how would you propose to deal with it?
The most important issue currently facing the Board of Education is the lack of full funding being provided by the Ministry of Education. An increase in funding would alleviate many of the challenges that Langley is currently facing. Some of these key issues are a lack of facilities in the Willoughby slope area, seismic upgrading that is required at a number of our school sites, and increased support and/or funding for departments like special education, libraries and counselling. As a trustee, I would encourage districts to come together and support each other in putting pressure on the government to adequately fund education. Also, I am in support of the BC School Trustees Association continuing to advocate strongly for full-funding of the education system in British Columbia. Quality public education is the cornerstone of a strong and healthy democratic society. We need confident, well-educated young people to become productive citizens in our communities. Fully funded education should be a top priority of our government.
2. – Should the school district sell surplus school sites to help fund capital projects in Willoughby?
I believe it is important for the school district to determine if any of the unused school sites may be required for educational programs in the foreseeable future. If that is unlikely then, yes, the school district should seriously consider disposing of one or more of the unused school sites.
3. – Is there enough timely communication between the board and the two local governments regarding development and its impact on school population?
From my understanding, the liaison committees that the school district has with both the Township and the City meet three times a year. I would expect that, should something of an urgent nature come up, they would meet in a more timely fashion. I believe that the priority for any communications between our local governments and the Langley Board of Education should be to ensure that there is open, honest, and transparent communication between them.
4. – What is the best way to deal with class size and composition issues, so that all students get the maximum attention from teachers?
Every class size and composition issue is unique. Every child is unique. Every class of students and the challenges they face is unique. It is the teachers on the front lines that can identify best, the needs of their classroom and how best to support their students. I do not believe it is in the best interest of anyone for a decision to be made at the provincial level with the expectation that it will be an adequate solution for every classroom. In my opinion, the best way to manage class size and composition issues is at the school level. Teachers, administrators, support staff and parents should all be involved in the decisions being made.