Twice the number of candidates for Mission trustee elections

Numerous reasons drove more interest in running for municipal office

Editor, The Record:

Re: Let the good work continue in Mission’s public schools, Jan. 12 edition.

Shelly Janze gives much praise to the last group of trustees for how well they worked together with the school district superintendent and administrators.

In a Mission Record letter of last January, one-time Mission Teachers’ Union president Dennis Keis advised that a “new group of trustees should be elected.” He also referred to another Record letter where Ginny Isbister had made “many salient points about our dysfunctional school district.”

In our recent elections there were more than double the number of candidates running for school trustee than in 2008. Why?

Here are some reasons:

• teacher frustration with large class sizes and the numbers of special needs students being place into regular classes;

• four schools closed down;

• teachers laid off;

• fewer counsellors;

• fewer teacher assistants;

• three alternate program sites closed down;

• students from the alternate program placed in regular classes causing predictable stress;

• while all departments of the school district were in need of funding, the superintendent received a large increase to his salary and benefits and the board office staff was increased;

• Mission School District became one of only three districts in B.C. that are running a deficit budget.

This “good work” had passed by the desk of the past board trustees.

Keis stated that trustees were “leashed by senior management,” meaning the superintendent had too much control.

Since their inception in December, the newly elected trustees are introducing major changes in a number of our school board policies which will transfer the authority of major decisions back to the elected board of representatives.

These proposed changes can be viewed at www.mpsd.ca.

Brian Harvey

Mission

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