The following questionnaire was sent to all New Westminster school trustee candidates a little over a week ago. Questions were selected based primarily on comments from readers of Tenth to the Fraser collected via Twitter and Facebook, with a few of my own questions added in. Responses are published in the order they were received. Spelling/grammar are not corrected and candidates’ responses are published unedited.
1. First, let’s hear a little about you:
- What’s your name? – Glen Richmond
- Do you have kids in our school system? – My 3 children graduated NWSS with Honours.
- What do our schools do well? – Communicate issues & concerns (PACs).
- What is the biggest area (aside from building schools) that needs improvement? – Traffic & street safety in and around our schools.
- What education-related idea or issue is most important to you personally as a candidate? – Quality of educational experiences (adequate funding for technology & special-needs students, and quality of life for students/parents/teachers & support staff).
2. How do you think schools could improve engagement and communication with parents and the broader community? Select all that apply.
- Identify a dedicated communications resource for the district (employee or shared services) to improve communications protocols and materials
- Use social media to reach out to parents and the broader community
- Increase frequency of public consultation opportunities
- Expand public consultation beyond parents of school aged kids to include those with preschool kids and concerned community members
- Improve collaboration/trustee involvement with parent advisory councils
- Bring back the School Liaison Officer (SLO) Program
3. Why should residents who don’t have children care about school board issues?
Because our students are the future citizens of our community and, as products of their environment, their experiences will affect others in the fullness of time.
4. Which of the following statements most closely represents your views on bottled water in schools?
Encourage the use of clean tap water and the use of reusable water bottles.
5. Assuming it is possible within our district’s budget, should New Westminster expand programs of choice to include sports academies (hockey school, for instance)?
Depending on fiscal realities, we should provide as many opportunities as practical which could include not only sports but arts, drama, etc.
6. What will you do to expedite building the new schools?
Build consensus and galvanize the School Board Trustees into action by making this a priority and look at building it concurrently with other capital projects.
7. Would you support prioritizing the construction of the new high school before the other new schools planned for the district?
My preference would be concurrent construction where possible.
8. What should be done with tiny Hume school?
Find a way to keep it open. Get enrollements up where possible and make maximum use of the facility with other programs so that it stays viable.
9. What more do you think schools could do to improve the health of children? (physical activity, healthy eating habits, etc.)
More play-space — fewer portables. Kids need to get out and ‘play’ and do other physical activities. Nutrition and proper eating habits are also very important for the quality of life for our students.
10. What do you think of the idea of expanding the use of school facilities to act as satellite community centres in neighbourhoods that lack such amenities? (For example, offering recreational programming outside of school hours or offering free space for nonprofit groups to meet, such as residents’ associations)
Schools are often focal points for neighbourhoods and as such, I would like to see residents embrace this ideal and make use of local schools where practical. I support the idea in principle provided that it is cost neutral and/or self-funding.
If you’d like to learn more about Glen Richmond, you can find him on Twitter: http://twitter.com/GlenRichmond1