Monday, November 10, 2008

Educating the voters on education issues

Last week provided Prince Rupert residents with the opportunity to learn more about the candidates seeking spots on the Prince Rupert School Board, as the large number of would be trustees shared their thoughts on the many educational issues of importance to the region.

The past few years have been very challenging ones for the School District, as declining enrollment and Ministry of Education decisions have impacted heavily on the bottom line of School Board administration.

From school closures to the rising needs of specials needs students and the need for infra structure monies; the process of delivering education has never been more frustrating for all the stakeholders on the local scene.

It was with that backdrop that the education forum took place on Thursday night, the developments of the night providing for a bit of background on the issues and where the candidates stand on them.

The Daily News featured details of the event in Friday’s paper, but once again, with the benefit of a superior on line presence, it’s been the Northern View which has best provided coverage of the issues of education in this campaign.

From their on line portal, the weekly publication has posted in-depth answers, to the questions posed by the local teachers union regarding education issues as well as a review of the forum itself.

The result of that work from both papers is provided below.

Northern View— Prince Rupert trustee candidates face off at forum
Northern View-- Rupert trustee candidates answer teacher questions
Northern View-- Rural candidates answer teacher questions

Would-be trustees talk about district's big issues
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Friday, November 07, 2008
Page one

The Multi-Purpose Room at Charles Hays Secondary School was near capacity last night as the public gathered to hear from candidates hoping to be elected as School District 52 trustees.
With one of the largest fields that the district has seen in the past two decades, the two-hour trustee forum briefly introduced fresh and familiar faces to the gathered stakeholders and allowed the candidates an opportunity to express their desire to be education leaders in Prince Rupert.

Organized jointly by the Prince Rupert District Teachers Union and the District Parent Advisory Council, the public turnout at the forum was only rivalled by that of the attendance at the Special Meetings held to discuss school closures last year.

Opening remarks from the prospective trustees varied from highlighting their personal achievements and educational involvement to the difficulties they see that are facing the district and what they hope to accomplish if elected.

Given the difficulties faced by SD52 in the last 24 months, no candidate hoped to maintain the current status quo.

Although the primary concerns of candidates were varied, nearly all those present were adamant that student needs and achievement were the reason they were seeking a spot on the school board.

A number of issues were brought forward from the audience, including the possibility of district school boards being further regionalized, the viability of Port Edward Elementary School, and the underfunding of early learning programs and the district resource centre.

Also posed to the candidates was the question of their thoughts on the role of principals and vice principals in the district, the possible amalgamation of Prince Rupert's high schools, and protecting students from any future sexual exploitation.

Beginning Monday readers can expect to learn more about the trustee candidates, as they are briefly profiled and answer several pertinent questions about the future of education in School District 52.

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