DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Trish Bella November 6th
1. What do you think is important to parents in the district?
1) I became involved when my daughter entered kindergarten. My involvement went from the classroom to the school as PAC Chair to the district level as a parent representative and then elected to the Board. I remember what inspired me to become involved. What parents want is the absolute best education opportunities for their children. This includes quality, accessible programing, individual support, access to up to date classroom materials and a clean, safe learning environment. They want to be involved in their child’s education as well as be heard while raising concerns. They want to be able to trust that the public education system is working to provide what is needed for their child to be successful.
2. Why are you running for trustee?
2) I am seeking re-election because of my commitment to public education and my belief that all students have to right to a safe, quality, accessible public education that supports their individual need. I believe that a quality public education system is the cornerstone to our society. I am a firm believer that a locally elected Board of Education is responsible for providing the best educational opportunities for all of the students enrolled in its programs.
3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
3) I understand the time commitment necessary and the complexities of delivering educational programs within a northern, rural district. We have unique and diverse needs as a district. I travelled around the province as well as met with educational leaders from across Canada while I held the position of Director on the Board for BCSTA. Those opportunities heightened my awareness of possible ways to address our needs.
4. How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
4) I have asked for regular updates to be given to trustees regarding parent concerns that are not being resolved. I believe trustees must be available as individuals as well as Board to hear concerns and/or challenges being faced by our partners including parents. We need to ensure that policies/procedures are supported and followed. The appropriate policies must be created or updated as needed.
5. How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
5) The governance of the district falls solely upon the elected Board. The Board is responsible for hiring the superintendent. Once hired the superintendent is responsible for the educational programs of the district. The superintendent is accountable to the Board and Ministry of Education. The Board makes its decisions based on input provided by the superintendent and staff. The Board gives direction through the superintendent. It is important to have a respectful, open and collaborative relationship with the superintendent as well as all employees.
6. How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
6) The Board profile needs to be elevated within our community. We need to be out in the media and present at district and community events. The Board needs to make sure that the process for concerns to be brought forward is clear and know. We need to bring all partners together in a united voice for addressing our challenges to the Ministry of Education. A system of checks and balances as well as reporting out decisions needs to be put into place. One such process I have requested through a motion is a tracking system for all correspondence in and out of the board as well as a follow up to the correspondence. I have also questioned the absence of our correspondence in the Board book. I would like to see a tracking of “How they voted” available in the district and will encourage the local media to reinstate it in reporting. There was a time when council decisions were reported as voted. I believe it is an effective reporting structure for the community to be made aware of the decisions made.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
7) I wish to return to the role of trustee to continue working on behalf of all students within our district. I am excited for the possibilities the next 4 years hold. We have the chance now with a new Board and negotiated agreements in place, to bring together our educational community and work for positive change. I want to be involved in that change. I believe “ all students have the right to a safe, quality, accessible public education that supports their individual needs” “ that a quality public education system is the cornerstone of our society” “ that by investing in the education of our students today, our communities will reap the benefits in the future” . I ask for your support in re-electing me to the Board of Education SD57, Prince George.