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Peachland and RDCO West candidates address their issues

The three candidates running for the sole school trustee position in the Peachland/RDCO West electoral area got a chance to answer questions and present their platforms on Tuesday evening.

The School Trustee Candidates Forum, held at Mount Boucherie Secondary School, saw Moyra Baxter, Lindsay Bell and Karin Cruikshank face off as they answered questions posed by the audience.

To start the evening, the candidates introduced themselves.

Baxter was first elected as the Peachland Trustee to the Central Okanagan School Board in 1996.

She served six years as board chairperson and was instrumental in bringing the Rotary Club’s One-to-One Reading Program to Peachland Elementary School. She has also volunteered extensively in the community.

Incumbent councillor Lindsay Bell is running for both school trustee and Peachland council.

She said that running for both positions won’t be a problem because she is required to report any conflicts of interest.

Bell said that her experience on council combined with her vested interest in the education system makes her a solid candidate for school trustee.

Cruikshank is an oriental medical doctor by profession and a parent of a son with autism.

She said that her ability to fundraise and get money effectively will help a system that has a lack of money for special needs students.

After introductions, members of the audience had an opportunity to ask their own questions to candidates.

One West Kelowna teacher said that teachers are expected to continually do more with less.

“At what point are you prepared to stand up to the government and say, ‘There is no more’?”

Baxter said that she has been fighting, and will continue to fight for funding. “Our board has written so many letters that we actually have got the message: Don’t bother writing anymore. But we still go on writing and meet with our MLAs on a regular basis. We have to keep pushing for more money,” said Baxter.

Bell was optimistic, saying it’s important to keep writing letters to those who have access to funding and grants.

“It might just take one more letter to the government,” said Bell.

Cruikshank said that the education ministers are totally unaware of what the situation is.

“I don’t have a problem taking it up to the highest CEO.

“I’m going to look at this in a completely different way; you can’t solve the problem using the same methodology,” said Cruikshank.

 

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