Pendharkar argues school board is still relevant

School District 23: Pendharkar, Muril0-school trustee candidate says confidence in public school system is not lost.

  • Oct. 30, 2014 11:00 a.m.

1)   Why do you feel school boards are still relevant today given how much control the provincial government maintains over education spending?

YES. Notwithstanding the government control of public school budgets, the schools should and would continue to be managed by publicly elected school Boards. SD23 operating budget of $200 million is managed by the Board. The Board has complete jurisdiction over recruitment, professional development, and management of all staff and ensuring that every student receives the best possible education. The parents have the opportunity to contact the Board for any problems the school principal is unable to address. The partners – employee groups, parents’ organization, students’ council – all have representation at Board meetings and are able to influence policy making and implementation.

2)   What personal characteristics or background do you possess that make you an ideal candidate for school trustee?

Academic qualifications: B. Sc.; B. Ed. (teaching math & sciences); M. Ed. (Educational Admin/Program Planning). Professional training: Teacher Evaluation and Conflict resolution. Work Experience: Teacher, Principal, Superintendent; in Africa, Sask., BC, India & China. I understand what good teaching is and know how to improve teaching skills. When the Board priorities for the budget are being established, As a Trustee, I would advocating the highest possible budget allocations for improving the quality of education offered to your children who are our students.  Personal Characteristic: I am a learner and good listener; I make an excellent team member on any Board.


3)Do you now have or have you had children enrolled in the public school system? If so, what has that experience as a parent taught you about what the school board’s priorities should be?

Our two children and five grandchildren graduated from a Canadian public school; a grandson is a Grade 12 student at KSS. I worked in a public school system for 25 years. As a parent, I expected my children (and grandchildren) to have good teachers, be able to discuss concerns about my children’s education, and get satisfactory answers. So, as a parent, I expected the school board to hire competent teachers, have processes in place to monitor and report on my children’s progress –  academic and social – and provide opportunities to them to learn about the world of work.


3)   Enrolment overall in private schools has shown an increase in recent years both locally and provincially.  What do you think the school board should or can do to restore what perhaps is a reflection of lost confidence in the public school system?


I disagree; the confidence in the public school system isn’t lost. Government’s financial support for private schools was responsible for increases in their enrolments. Private schools are chosen for: religious education, smaller classes, homogeneous grouping and residences. School Boards are reluctant to expend funds to publicize their services and outstanding results because those funds are better used for adding needed services. Canada’s public schools are the envy of many countries worldwide. School Districts offering international education have little difficulty recruiting fee paying students overseas.  Nevertheless school boards should more publicize their unique qualities and outstanding achievements to attract lost students.


5) Why do you want to be a school trustee?

Giving back to the community, a retirement objective has been achieved. I found trusteeship very rewarding; and acknowledged as exemplary. This comment after my first term illustrates: “I would like to thank you for the extremely valuable contribution you have made as a Board member during the past three years and more recently as Board chairperson. Your work to unify the Board, to support community partnerships and to improve relations with our unions has been extremely successful. You have provided excellent leadership as chairperson of the Board and have mediated strong differences of opinion throughout the past three years.”


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