Bio: Bill Maslechko
Once again I write to ask for your support to continue as your representative on the board of education of School District #8.
While many of you I know, for those who don’t know me, I want to give a quick overview of who I am. I am Bill Maslechko. My family and I have been residents of Nelson since 1977. Our children are all graduates of L.V. Rogers and presently we have three grandchildren in the system in Nelson in grades 4, 9, and 11 and a daughter who teaches at Rosemont.
Prior to our retirement, my wife Lecia taught in the district completing her career at Mt. Sentinel and I was superintendent of schools from 1977 through 1994. My career covered the full spectrum: teacher, vice-principal, principal and superintendent.
We are a family of the community, a family closely tied to the world of education and know that a good education is the key to opening the door of opportunity for every child. That is why equality of opportunity for every child to acquire this education is critical and needs to be our focus.
I believe that my background in teaching, school administration and being at the board table for 20 years as superintendent of schools has prepared me well to be your trustee. As well, I have just completed my second term in that capacity. I have been involved in a variety of decisions that I believe are taking the district in a positive direction.
I hope that that is your belief as well and that I will have your support on November 19.
Top 3 issues
1. When asked to identify three key issues that the board is or will be facing I find identifying the first one easy. It just stands out for me. It is the budget. I need to say outright, and I’ve said it before, that I believe that the education system is underfunded. And, the underfunding leads to many of the other issues that the district faces. A second part of the budget issue is that of predictability — we are never really quite sure of the funding we are going to receive as we build for the coming year. While the variance may not be that great, when you are working on an extremely tight budget any downward movement is major. As a board member I make the budget a major focus. I am one of the voices for detail and clarity of spending and was a proponent for our open budget building process now in place. While I believe that we are underfunded I also believe in proper management of the funds we have.
2. My second issue might be best described as a need to complete a process that was begun some time ago. This item affects Nelson and the Nelson catchment area specifically. As many of you are aware some time ago the board, because of declining enrolment commenced on a process of school closures and school reconfigurations. One of the key steps in this undertaking was a new Trafalgar Elementary Middle School which is yet to happen. This, to me, is an item that requires our continued attention.
3. Last but not least I want to identify two other very critical areas that need immediate review. This year we experienced an unexpected increase in the number of students wishing to enrol in the French immersion program. Our process for determining entry into the program came under serious question. This needs attention. As well a process for entry at the Grade 7 level for students moving up from the early French immersion program needs to be put in place.
We are also in a stage now of what I would call a stalled process in contract negotiations between our teachers and the board’s agency. This is going to require care, attention and support.
There are many issues and I could go on and on but the most important things are the students in our schools and the staff that deliver the variety of services that make their educational experience a success. That requires our continued focus. Issues will always be there.