As a candidate for school trustee and as a retired teacher of over 27 years, I have an understanding of and a commitment to public education. I am known to local parents and educators, having grown up in the valley and taught at PCSS for over 20 years.
It is my belief that the people of the Creston Valley have not been adequately represented by local trustees in effectively advocating to keep the Creston Education Centre (CEC) open. If you are skeptical, just ask the parents of students who attended the CEC over the past few years. We need a unified group of trustees who are willing to fight for the students and taxpayers of the Creston Valley and to make sure that we get our fair share of our educational funding. Those who have worked with me know where my commitment lies and that I am willing to stand up to the Nelson district administration.
In 2015, SD#8 completed a review of all facilities in the district and slated a number of schools for closure which included the closure and eventual sale of the CEC. While increased funding by the provincial government saved other district schools from closure, the CEC remained a target. Even with the election of a new government, sizable increases in school funding, and a Supreme Court of Canada decision limiting class size, the CEC remained a target. Nothing would take the eye of the Board off closing our school. Now, to add insult to injury, it appears that the School District is backing away from its plan to close Trafalgar Middle School in Nelson.
With the impending closure, a meeting was called by parents of CEC students. Trustees Suttie and Beebe who had been working and voting to save this facility (and not just the programming) were in attendance. The lone local trustee, Rebecca Huscroft was notably absent from the meeting. She held the opinion that it was not the CEC building that was important but rather the programming that in her mind could be transferred out to various locations in the community. I want to know why Trustee Huscroft failed to be an advocate for the CEC as an early learning hub and then voted to direct a minimum of $75,000 of discretionary funding to build a tennis court at a Nelson school. I understand that at times elected officials vote against the wishes of their constituents but if they do, they have a moral obligation to explain their vote publically. I believe that Trustee Huscroft failed her duty when she didn’t attend this public meeting.
Providing our students with the best opportunities to better their lives will always be foremost in the decisions I make but I will never turn my back on my community.
Creston has been financially disadvantaged since forced amalgamation with Nelson. Perhaps it is time we look at options to disengage with Nelson. I will look into that process.
Thank you for considering me for trustee.