School board vice-chair Val Windsor has announced she is seeking a third term as a school trustee.
“The role of school trustee is one of continual advocacy, a role that I have embraced for more than 45 years in my various positions within the education community in Delta — as a teacher, former president of the Delta Teachers’ Association, and finally as a trustee,” Windsor said in press release. “My many experiences have given me a unique perspective that, I believe, is useful in helping to provide direction to the district as an elected trustee.”
Windsor said one of her greatest concerns is education funding.
“With the provincial government studying and probably changing the current funding formula, I am concerned that Delta will again be on the losing end of any reallocation of funding,” she said. “Trustees understand that the amount of money in the provincial education pot will not be increased, which means that some school districts will gain funding while others will lose funding.
“When the transportation formula was changed a few years ago, Delta lost 50 per cent of its transportation funding, forcing this board of trustees to make some very difficult budget choices affecting students in rural areas who were dependent upon busing to get them to school.”
Windsor pointed to Delta’s high graduation rate, and the increasing number of Indigenous students graduating from Delta schools, as a proof that current funding levels must be at least maintained, especially in regards to vulnerable students.
“Increasing the graduation rate of vulnerable students is a priority; receiving a Dogwood Diploma provides more post-secondary opportunities for students than does an Evergreen certificate,” Windsor said.
“As a trustee, I have advocated for and supported budget improvements to those areas of the system that provide increased services to all students, with a focus on vulnerable students — Indigenous students and students with special needs, as well as English language learners, which includes adult education. Since I was first elected as a trustee seven years ago, I have actively served on many committees within the district and in the Metro Vancouver area that support vulnerable students.”
Citing the ongoing saga of improving Delta’s track facilities, Windsor said she would like to see the relationship between city council and the school board continue to develop.
“The track situations in both North and South Delta are areas where progress is being made. The track at South Delta is being re-surfaced thanks to a joint effort between the City of Delta and the Delta board of education. To re-do the North Delta Secondary School track is a complicated process, one that involves all four levels of government. This necessitates a good working relationship at the local level to ensure that the updated track will meet community needs,” Windsor said.
“Although the school district owns the land where the track is located, it is a resource that is used by many North Delta residents and schools, not just the NDSS students.”
Windsor also pointed to a number of other areas she said need continued support in terms of both funding and staffing levels, including ensuring student well-being by being proactive in approaches to dealing with mental health issues.
As well, Windsor said that mentoring new teachers is critical to success, both for them and for students, as well as opening more lines of communication with parents and the community at large.
“There is always room to improve our methods of communication with parents and to get the message out to the wider Delta community about the incredible learning that is taking place in Delta schools thanks to our dedicated staff,” Windsor said.
“Delta is a great community to raise children and to have them educated in our public schools. Delta voters need to elect school trustees who are committed to getting involved in the work of the school district so that their votes will be well informed. It is our students’ futures that are impacted by decisions made at school board meetings.”
Windsor is the tenth candidate for school board to announce their intention to run.
Running on Jim Cessford’s Independents Working for You slate are incumbent board chair Laura Dixon and incumbent trustee Nick Kanakos, as well as district PAC chair Joe Muego.
Incumbent trustee Bruce Reid is running on the Kids Matter ticket with Surrey School District electrician Randy Anderson-Fennel and Richmond teacher Victor Espinoza.
Incumbent trustee Rhiannon Bennett is running under the Delta Voices banner with educational assistant Andrea Hilder and Mita Naidu, director of development and communications at WISH Drop-In Centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
The civic elections take place on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, with advanced voting opportunities on Oct. 6, 10 and 11.