To the Editor:
Over the last several years, there were some remarkable letters in the Advance about deficiencies of our democracy. With an upcoming municipal election we can test where we stand and to come up with solutions. I am sure the candidates for mayor, councillors and regional directors will present their cases in full.
What will be almost completely omitted from public debates is the fact that we will be electing three school board trustees (one for Creston, two for Regional District of Central Kootenay areas A, B and C). Why is it important? Because those three will sit on board, deciding how your $50 million of taxes will be spent, because education is important and our kids get their start into life through attending/finishing school, including Grade 12.
We usually hear about these issues only when another school is to be closed or when teachers are going on strike. A proactive approach is needed. Instead of infinite fighting for money, accusations, bickering and lamentations, why don’t we start dynamic, all-inclusive dialogue among parties involved? Those parties (parents, teachers, government, administrators/trustees and taxpayers) would do a good service to the community and themselves having regular — at least twice-a-year — public meetings (plus any time a problem is on the horizon) to make sure that everybody knows where he/she stands, and that school trustees have all the information needed to make important decisions based on all relevant facts, of which all sides can say they reflect the best interest of the majority of children in a given economic environment.
From my understanding of the bundle called education, teachers need freedom to teach, decent pay and job security, parents need valuable, practical education for their kids, taxpayers need good value for their tax dollars and the government needs to find a compromise between education and not bankrupting the province, as our ever-growing provincial debt is a runaway train.
I believe there is only a partial solution within today’s system. Some improvement will come by co-operation among ministries, businesses, regional districts, the federal government and other agencies, trusts, and even churches. A complete solution can be found only outside the box, but this is for another discussion.
My challenge to Creston Valley residents: Will we have a set of public meetings with extended discussions, forums to present, collect and evaluate ideas, find solutions for problems we face, treating citizens as a bank of wisdom instead of mere voters? Will we step outside the box looking for what we have in common and how to move the community forward without walking deep into taxpayers’ pockets? Who will make it happen? The Advance, the school board, the chamber of commerce, Prince Charles Secondary School, the regional district, independents, bloggers (crestonvalleyissues.com), Toastmasters or some others I still don’t know about?
If any of you wants to help, advise or chip in, please contact relevant organizations and individuals. Find out if they are willing and able. I came to the conclusion that people like me are many, just isolated and not well organized. Let’s give it a try together.