An all-candidate forum with an educational focus was held Wednesday night. The Kootenay Lake School trustees hosted the event attended by about 30 people.

Nelson education forum draws smaller crowd for big issues

An all-candidates forum focussed on what those rivaling to represent this riding would do for education in Nelson-Creston.

An all-candidates education forum held Wednesday night saw a small crowd gather to hear what those rivaling to represent this riding would do for education in Nelson-Creston.

Hosted by school board trustees and moderated by superintendent Jeff Jones at the Johnstone Road boardroom, the forum saw about 30 people attend with a handful viewing via live-conference from Creston.

On behalf of the trustees, board vice chair Lenora Trenaman welcomed all in attendance thanking them for coming to hear what candidates had to say on matters of education.

“We are all very passionate about education and while sometimes we bark about it,” she said, “we rarely bite.”

People representing principals, parents, teachers, unionized workers and students gave questions to NPD Michelle Mungall, Liberal’s Greg Garbula and Sjeng Derkx representing the Green party.

Both Derkx and Mungall were critical of the Liberal’s BC Education Plan calling it vague using nice words but lacking substance.

Mungall pointed to Liberal cuts gutting education in the province promising her government has found revenue earmarked for the classroom.

“We have taken education for granted for 12 years. It’s time to change that. It’s time to reinvest in our K to 12 system and what the NDP is proposing is $100 million into classrooms,” she said.

With these funds targeted, Mungall says additional money will go toward more teacher assistants and librarians, for example.

“Once you support the teachers, you support the student,” she said.

Garbula acknowledged that his party wants to “do better for our kids,” he said.

“I know it’s been challenging for the last number of years. We’ve come through a very difficult time. I think that difficult time will allow us to flourish in the years to come. As we improve our economic situation … our ability to do better will be greatly improved,” he said. “I don’t have $100 million to give you. We have a budget. We have a plan.”

Derkx challenged the other parties who’ve had their turn governing in BC.

“There is no infinite pot of money,” he said.

Derkx outlined his party’s philosophy that includes curriculum development to include things like more physical fitness in schools, community integration so schools make use of existing services in the communities as well as financial restructuring. As this is pursued, he sees the province taking less of a role in the local scene.

“We believe more decision making needs to be shifted from the province to the board level to the school,” he said.

People asking questions of politicians were concerned about supporting special needs students, teacher-student ratios and the role of provincial bargaining agencies like the BC Public School Employers’ Association and the BC Teachers Federation.

Derkx said having provincial standards for contract negotiations is beneficial but the “cookie cutter model” doesn’t always work. Negotiations need to be brought to the individual school boards.

Candidates were also asked about the future of Trafalgar middle school, in desperate need of replacement.

“I’d love to work with you on that,” said Mungall, to make it a “top priority.”

Garbula said he worked in Crawford Bay when their school needed replacement and he’s willing to fight with this community to make the same happen.

“I know we can make it happen in the next year or two,” he said.

Those wishing to watch the forum can view it on YouTube where it was live streamed.


Just Posted

Slocan Valley to be ‘lit up’ with high-speed internet in 12 months

125 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to be laid from Nakusp to Playmore Junction

LETTERS: In support of student climate strikers

From readers Tia Leschke and Sharon Inkpen

Kootenay Musical Theatre Society ready to make a deal with the Devil

The new group will put on an original show in October at the Capitol Theatre

Nelson councillor starts national municipal climate group

Climate Leadership Caucus has 57 members including seven mayors

RDCK to purchase portion of lands around Cottonwood Lake

21.6 hectares will be purchased for $450,000

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Rural Kootenay communities to receive high-speed internet upgrade

The provincial government is increasing internet connectivity to rural British Columbia

Most Read