Kelowna candidates talk funding

The candidates who win seats on School District 23 will be part of the team making decisions on a $180 million annual budget.

The candidates who win a seat at the table for school trustee for School District 23 will be part of the team making the decisions on a $180 million dollar annual budget.

On Monday, the Central Okanagan Teachers Association and the Central Okanagan Parents Advisory Council hosted an all-candidates forum at Hollywood Road Education Services Building for the Kelowna trustee hopefuls.

In Kelowna there are 14 candidates vying for four positions on the seven-member board.

The other three positions are designated for Peachland/Westside, West Kelowna and Lake Country.

Only one Kelowna incumbent is seeking re-election, Rolli Cacchioni.

The other incumbent running again is Moyra Baxter, who is a Peachland/Westside candidate .

The public forum featured a three-minute presentation from each candidate followed by a meet and greet.

The predominant theme of the evening’s speeches was money and the lack thereof within the public education system.

Time and again candidates proposed renewed lobbying of the provincial government for more funding to address the perceived ills of the school system.

Other key themes to emerge during the evening was a focus on improving literacy and numeracy in students, and multiple promises to consult with all stakeholders in the education system.

The reality facing every school board is that the majority of the funds under management directly flow through to staffing costs.

School District 23 is the second largest employer in the Okanagan after Interior Health.

Trustees make decisions with the remaining funds to provide programs based on district and stakeholder priorities.

Those programming decisions make the difference for students with special needs, varied interests and activities.

Literacy, numeracy and graduation rates and diverse curriculum offerings are impacted by the amount and type of programming available.

In the 2010-2011 Completion Rates (defined as the percentage of students graduating with a Dogwood Diploma within six years of first entering Grade 8) the Central Okanagan School District has a graduation rate of 86.2 per cent for non-aboriginal students, seventh highest in the province.

The aboriginal graduation rate is 60.9 per cent which places the district in the top third of districts province-wide, but is well ahead of the overall aboriginal graduate rate average of 54.1 per cent.

They said it…

Some of the comments made by the school trustee candidates at Monday’s forum:

Chris Becenko: “We can only spend what we have and we need to use resources efficiently.”

Joyce Brinkerhoff: “I would be a representative of community priorities and do what is best for the children, even the little things add up.”

Rolli Cacchioni: “I make decisions based on what is happening in the classroom and what is best for the students.  Professional services for kids needs to be there.”

Torrie Fonda: Does not want to see students slipping through the cracks.

Chris Gorman: “We have a limited pie, special needs students need to be properly funded and decisions need to be made in the best interest of the students.”

Larry Gray: “You can only work with what you have, but we need to look at all options. Any cuts would need to come from the periphery of the system.”

Val Hristovski: “Fine arts programming and athletics produce well rounded students and there are many students who need that outlet within school.”

Richard Knight: “The first question in decision making is: ‘Is it good for the kids?’ Literacy would be my number one priority and I am cautious of technology in the classroom—it is expensive and hasn’t always lived up to expectations.”

Greg Krasichynsky:  “All has been decided for us. We need to look at 21st century initiative, busing, transportation, physical exercise for students and meal programs. We might need to look at property taxes.”

Murli Pendarkaar:  “The province does not seem to be placing education high enough, for example transit subsidizes the university, but empty buses all day long cost money. We have a two-tiered education system and a free education system means an equal opportunity to attend. The current fees are the thin edge of the wedge to a two-tiered system.”

Mark Thompson: “Look at middle schools and their administration to see if they are the most efficient way to deliver education. The province has been a bully in the funding process, in a career a teacher earns between $300 to 500,000 more in Alberta and that gap will change teacher quality in B.C.

“We need to reinvent the education system in B.C. There are tough decisions to be made…possibly asset sales and I am prepared to look at the property tax base.”


Just Posted

Traffic will be backed up leaving Kelowna

Plan your commute home strategically

Grass fire sparks near Kelowna’s UBCO campus

Construction workers in the area helped extinguish small fire, likely caused by lightning

Water quality advisory in Kelowna lifted

After a month of warnings, officials say testing shows water quality is good again

Progress made on Kelowna Visitor Centre

The centre is set to open mid summer

Kelowna names new city manger

City goes in-house and picks planning boss Doug Gilchrist to replacement Ron Mattiussi

Humans locked in for love at Kelowna Shelter

BC SPCA Lock-In for Love hopes to raise $25,000

Fireworks and fires over a half-metre banned Friday in Kamloops centre

B.C. Wildfire Service banning to category 2 and 3 fires in Kamloops Fire Centre at noon Friday

Rescued Oregon family simply unprepared for adventure, RCMP say

Agencies now helping the group of four get to their destination in Alaska

Large B.C. tree dies after possible poisoning

Police and District investigate after large chestnut tree’s rapid decline

Canucks release 2018-19 season schedule

Vancouver to face Calgary Flames on Wednesday, Oct. 3, for home opener

VIDEO: Luxury Home and Design Show opens with Italian flare

Event set to run Friday to Sunday at BC Place in Vancouver

Small new charge on BC Hydro bills goes toward new crisis fund

The new fund aims to help customers who find themselves in financial emergencies

UPDATED: Crown appeals B.C. polygamous leader’s acquittal in child bride case

James Oler had been charged with taking his underage daughter to the U.S. to marry her off

Fake cops ‘arrest’ woman, steal $6,000 in latest CRA scam

Vancouver police urge people not take calls from anyone saying they’re from the Canada Revenue Agency

Most Read