EDITORIAL: Don’t undervalue the role of school trustees

Low-profile politicians handle near $100-million budget in Sooke district alone

In the hierarchy of public elections, candidates for school trustee generally fall near the bottom of the recognition scale for most voters.

Around here at least, the people who run for school board are not usually attention-grabbing individuals vowing to make changes to the system or other such promises. They often have kids in the school system, or aren’t far removed from being parents of school-aged children, and so have a good idea of how education funding is filtering into classrooms.

Today school trustees don’t have nearly so much power to change the system, which is pretty much entirely the domain of the provincial government. But local trustees do play a critical role in our communities, which is to ensure the money the district does receive from the province is spent wisely.

The Sooke School District’s operational budget is pushing $100 million. That’s even more reason for us as voters to install people on the board who have a pretty good handle on reading balance sheets, or at least understand the value of cash.

Not only do trustees have to go over their budget with a fine-tooth comb – and figure out where shortfalls will be taken up – they’re in charge of administering it once the province gives the document the green light.

In School District 62, there are some massive projects on the go – the new Belmont High and Royal Bay secondary spring immediately to mind, as does reacting to the fast expansion of Langford’s Happy Valley neighbourhood. That’s not to mention the regular operational decisions trustees are expected to analyze and discuss on a monthly basis.

The workload and expectation level would be enough to drive some people to throw in the towel, but this election saw every sitting trustee run again, despite the additional year of service. While fresh blood can be good for any publicly elected body, the fact all but one incumbent got in means the learning curve won’t be as steep for the new board.

Many eyes will be on lone newcomer Ravi Parmar, a 20-year-old recent Belmont grad, to see what he brings to the table. He may get his eyes opened once he sits down to his first set of reports, but as a young learner, we expect he’ll get in there and roll his sleeves up.

Just Posted

Victoria seniors want to know more about marijuana

Four presentations on the medical properties of cannabis for seniors come to Victoria

Rickter Scale: California Dreaming with Steve Shutt

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column in the Goldstream News Gazette

Victoria gears up to axe free parking on Sundays

Council vote puts Sunday parking fees towards bus passes for youth

Oak Bay one step closer to deer immunocontraceptive test

Up to 80 deer could be given ‘birth control’ vaccine in the fall

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could say the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Nanaimo edges Royal Bay by one point to win Vancouver Island AAA girls basketball title

Nanaimo District Secondary School wins first AAA girls’ Island title in 29 years

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

Most Read