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Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine: Urbain/Urban

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Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine Urbaine/Urban (4 to be elected)

Michel Durand-Wood

1. Are you an incumbent trustee? Have you served or run at other political levels? Are you running for a political party, and if so, which one?

Non, non et non.

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No, no and no.

2. Do you have children enrolled in or graduated from this division? Are/were any of your children home-schooled, or enrolled in an independent school?

Mon premier-né n'est présentement pas d'âge scolaire. Mais, lorsqu'il le sera, il fréquentera une école de la DSFM.

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My firstborn is currently too young. However, once he is school-aged, he will be attending school in the DSFM.

3. List five issues which you believe your division's school board will have to deal with in the next year, and state your position on these issues.

  1. Exogamie : Travaillant étroitement avec chaque école, les outils et programmes en exogamie doivent continuellement être retravaillés afin de rencontrer les besoins des familles exogames. Présentement, la division n'a pas avancé assez loin avec la création d'opportunités à petite échelle pour que le parent non-francophone s'implique plus activement dans la vie scolaire de son enfant.
  2. Renouvellement d'ententes collectives avec les enseignants : Voir question 5.
  3. Renouvellement du plan stratégique : Le nouveau plan stratégique devrait éviter le mélange de l'opérationnel et du stratégique, et devrait inclure des indicateurs de rendement précis.
  4. Partenariats communautaires : J'aimerais voir plus d'effort porté au développement de projets et de partenariats avec des organismes qui offrent une programmation à une clientèle de français langue seconde, dans le but d'agrandir l'espace francophone.
  5. Programmes de garderie : J'appuie pleinement le développement de projets de garderies francophones au sein de nos écoles.

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  1. Exogamous families programs: Working closely with each school, tools and programs should continuously be developed and reworked in order to meet the needs of its exogamous families. Currently, the division has not gone far enough in creating small-scale opportunities for the non-francophone parent to get more actively involved in their child's school life.
  2. Renewal of teachers' contracts: See question 5.
  3. Renewal of strategic plan: The new strategic plan for the division should avoid mixing operational and strategic objectives, and should include clear performance indicators.
  4. Community Partnerships: I would like to see more projects and partnerships with organizations offering programming to a clientele whose second language is French, in order to expand the reach of the French community.
  5. Daycare programs: I fully support the development and delivery of French Daycare programs within our schools.

4. List your top five capital priorities for your division and which you would favour your board submitting to the province for funding, in descending order of priority.

  1. Expansion de l'École Taché
  2. Projets de garderies francophones dans les écoles (x 4)

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  1. École Taché expansion
  2. French In-School Daycare projects (x 4)

5. What percentage increase in annual salary would be appropriate for teachers in your division? Would you reduce, maintain or increase the number of teachers in your division?

Je suis d'accord qu'une augmentation soit indexée selon l'augmentation du coût de la vie (ou d'un autre index approprié). Cependant, l'augmentation salariale des enseignants seule n'est qu'une partie de l'équation. Les enseignants sont les employés de première ligne de notre système éducatif. Sans doute, leur travail est important et devrait être rémunéré de façon appropriée. Parcontre, on doit tenir compte de plusieurs facteurs autre que le salaire, tels tailles de classes, allocation de personnel de soutien, disponibilité de ressources de salle de classe (technologiques et autres), opportunités de développement personnel, et bien d'autres. Améliorer ces aspects de l'environment de travail, fournir les outils nécessaires, s'assurer qu'ils se sentent valorisés, respectés et heureux dans leur travail, est aussi important qu'une paie équitable et juste. Sans adresser tous ces facteurs, il est quasi-impossible d'atteindre notre objectif principal: une éducation de qualité pour nos enfants.

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I believe pay increases should at least cover annual cost of living increases, perhaps being linked to the CPI, core inflation, or another suitable indicator. However, looking at annual pay increases for teachers on their own is only considering part of the equation.

Teachers work at the frontlines of our education system on a daily basis. Without a doubt, their work is important and should be remunerated accordingly. However, a number of factors other than pay need to be taken into account, and these include class sizes, support staff allocation, classroom resources (technological and other), opportunities for professional development, and many others.

Improving these aspects of teachers' work environment, equipping them with the proper tools, and ensuring they feel valued, fulfilled and happy in their work, is just as important as providing an appropriate and fair remuneration. Without addressing all of these factors, it is nearly impossible to attain our main goal: providing a quality education for our students.

6. Should the province lift its moratorium on school closings? Is or are there a school or schools in the division which should be reviewed for closure because of low enrolment? Which one(s)?

Il n'y a aucune école dans la division qui devrait être fermée.

- - -

There are no schools in the division which warrant closing.

7. Would you accept the province's tax incentive grant and agree to freeze property taxes, even if it meant cutting jobs, services or programs?

La DSFM ne se finance pas directement avec une taxe spéciale sur les biens imposables. Cette portion de son financement provient des paiements de chaque division scolaire locale, correspondant au montant total recueilli au moyen de la taxe spéciale sur les biens imposables, divisé par le nombre d'élèves qui résident dans cette division scolaire et qui fréquentent des écoles publiques, multiplié par le nombre d'élèves qui résident dans cette même division scolaire et qui suivent un programme offert par la DSFM. Par exemple, s'il y a 16 000 étudiants qui résident à l'intérieur des frontières de la division scolaire River East-Transcona, et que cette division collecte 160 M$ au moyen de la taxe spéciale sur les biens imposables, le paiement sera de 10 000$ par étudiant inscrit à la DSFM habitant au territoire de River East-Transcona (les chiffres sont approximatifs et pour fins illustratives seulement). Voilà pourquoi il est non seulement important pour les parents votant dans la DSFM de s'informer au sujet des candidats et de voter dans les élections scolaires de la DSFM, mais aussi de faire pareillement dans leur division scolaire locale!

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The DSFM does not directly collect a property tax levy to fund its operations. That portion of its funding comes from transfer payments from the local school divisions in which its pupils reside, and is equivalent to the total raised by the property tax levy of the local school division, divided by the number of pupils resident in that school division attending public schools, multiplied by the number of pupils resident in that division attending a program provided by the DSFM. For example, if there are 16,000 pupils living within the boundaries of the River East-Transcona School Division (including those enrolled in the DSFM), and the RETSD collects $160M in its property tax levy, the transfer payment will be $10,000 for each student enrolled in the DSFM and living in River East-Transcona (numbers are approximate and for illustrative purpose only). This illustrates why it is so important for DSFM-voters not only to get informed about the candidates and vote in the DSFM, but also for their local school division!

8. Would you increase property taxes? If so, what percentage increase is acceptable and for what specific reason(s)?

Voir question 7.

- - -

See question 7.

9. Do you believe in the so-called no-fail, social promotion policy? Should "failed" students repeat a school year? Should students be docked marks for late assignments?

Je ne crois pas en une politique de promotion sociale, et je crois qu'un élève devrait être pénalisé pour la soumission en retard de travaux scolaires. L'école a un rôle important à jouer dans la préparation des ses élèves pour la vie adulte. Dans la vie adulte, la soumission en retard de travaux n'est pas acceptable et porte des conséquences. Nous devons enseigner à nos élèves à s'améliorer suite à leurs fautes, plutôt que de nier l'existence de ces fautes. Cela étant dit, si un étudiant "échoue" régulièrement ses travaux/examens durant l'année jusqu'au point où il faut le retenir d'une année, c'est vraiment nous, les parents et les éducateurs, qui avons échoué. Les systèmes doivent être mis en place, et les ressources allouées afin d'identifier ces étudiants nécessitant plus d'aide plus tôt, afin d'offrir l'appui requis, bien avant qu'il ne devienne question de répéter une année scolaire.

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I do not believe in a no-fail policy, and I do believe students should be docked marks for late assignments. School is an important part in preparing students for the real world. In the real world, handing in late assignments bears consequences. We should be teaching students how to learn from failure rather than try to pretend it doesn't exist.

That being said, if a student "fails" so many assignments throughout a school-year that he/she needs to repeat that school year, then it is we, as parents and educators, who have failed. Systems need to be put in place and resources allocated in order to identify those students requiring additional help in the early stages, and to offer the educational support required, long before it becomes a question of repeating a school year.

10. Do you believe in standardized tests? For what subjects and grades? What proportion of the final mark should they should be worth?

Oui et non. Oui, je crois qu'il est nécessaire de développer des outils qui pourront mesurer de façon uniforme et objective si nous atteignons nos objectifs quant à la qualité d'éducation livrée à nos enfants, mais en même temps, l'examen standardisé n'est pas nécessairement cet outil. C'est une question à régler en travaillant de près avec enseignants et parents.

- - -

Yes and no. Yes, I believe it is necessary to develop tools which will enable us to measure, in a uniform and objective manner, whether we are attaining our goals with respect to the quality of education being delivered to our children. However, by the same token, standardized tests are not necessarily that tool. This is an issue that needs to be dealt with by consulting closely with parents and teachers.

 

Patrick Fortier 

1. Are you an incumbent trustee? Have you served or run at other political levels? Are you running for a political party, and if so, which one?

Although I currently volunteer on the boards of the Société franco-manitobaine and the St. Boniface Health Centre, I’m taking my first run at office as an independent and community-focused candidate for school trustee in the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine (DSFM).

2. Do you have children enrolled in or graduated from this division? Are/were any of your children home-schooled, or enrolled in an independent school?

I currently do not have any kids enrolled in the DSFM, but want to become involved and make a positive contribution to ensure the division continues to offer quality French-language education as my wife and I are planning to start a family.

3. List five issues which you believe your division’s school board will have to deal with in the next year, and state your position on these issues.

Education Options – We need to offer students more course options in order to expand opportunities available to students, from programming offered through the International Baccalaureate to expansion of vocational programs. With the use of technology, many schools could benefit from the delivery of these types of course options by distance education, especially in rural areas.

Upgrading of French Language Skills - With many more families considering the DSFM as an option, we need to ensure that kids enrolling in DSFM schools are given the opportunity to upgrade their language skills in order to succeed.

Integration of New Manitobans – Many of the thousands of new Manitobans arriving each year are French-speaking. We need to focus our efforts to fully integrate these new students into our school division by giving them the tools to succeed educationally.

Adult Learning – The francophone population in Manitoba is growing and becoming more diverse. We need to expand current adult learning programming, such as the Centre d’apprentissage franco-manitobain located at Collège Louis-Riel, in order to give new Manitobans who speak French the opportunity to upgrade or develop the skills needed to fully participate in our growing economy.

Expanding Democratic Involvement – Currently, only parents with kids currently enrolled in a DSMF school can exercise their right to vote in school trustee elections. Expanding the voters list to include grandparents as well as former students and parents will strenghthen the DSFM by increasing community engagement and participation in divisional governance.

4. List your top five capital priorities for your division and which you would favour your board submitting to the province for funding, in descending order of priority.

Overall, I would like to see capital investments made to expand physical space as well as increase the availability of technology in DSFM schools. Not only would this create more space for classrooms, it would also allow for community-oriented initiatives such as child-care facilities and after-hours school programs. Schools equipped with up to date technology would provide teachers with additional tools to deliver quality education and allow for distance education opportunities for divisional schools located outside Winnipeg. In particular, I will work to continue to advance the École Taché expansion project in North St. Boniface.

5. What percentage increase in annual salary would be appropriate for teachers in your division? Would you reduce, maintain or increase the number of teachers in your division?

The DSFM must ensure that teacher salaries are competitive with other school divisions in order to attract and retain the very best staff from Manitoba and other provinces. We need to support our teachers while ensuring we are being fiscally responsible and taking into account the challenges we all face in today's economy.

6. Should the province lift its moratorium on school closings? Is or are there a school or schools in the division which should be reviewed for closure because of low enrolment? Which one(s)?

The decision to continue or remove the current moratorium on school closures rests with the provincial government and I respect that. That being said, no matter what policies are in place, my goal will be to ensure that schools are used rather than closed. I believe that we need to keep schools open where possible by supporting community use of schools, as they have an important role to play in a community’s vitality. Rather than consider closing schools due to declining enrolment, we should expand community-oriented initiatives such as providing child care space and offering after hours programming.

7. Would you accept the province’s tax incentive grant and agree to freeze property taxes, even if it meant cutting jobs, services or programs?

The DSFM does not collect its own property taxes.

8. Would you increase property taxes? If so, what percentage increase is acceptable and for what specific reason(s)?

Again, the DSFM does not collect its own property taxes.

9. Do you believe in the so-called no-fail, social promotion policy? Should "failed" students repeat a school year? Should students be docked marks for late assignments?

In terms of "no-fail" policy, I believe in a reasonable and common-sense approach where students do not automatically pass or fail. Rather, these are informed decisions that need to be made by teachers in consultation with parents. In the most severe cases, repeating a school year should be an option not a requirement. Also, teachers need to be able to follow through with real consequences for behavior such as handing in assignments late where they feel that such action is necessary, but we need to ensure that the discretion to take such action rests with the teacher who can take into consideration other factors.

10. Do you believe in standardized tests? For what subjects and grades? What proportion of the final mark should they should be worth?

The issue I have with standardized testing is that we wouldn’t want to see students attending school for the sole purpose of learning the test. Teachers need to have some flexibility in teaching the curriculum, which includes determining when and how to measure students’ progress. However, standardized testing exists at the high school level and we should continue to do so as it helps us evaluate the overall education system in Manitoba. I would increase available resources for student assessment at the beginning of each the school year, so that teachers can determine and be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each student. This would make it easier for teachers to address any issues at the beginning rather than the end of the year.

Did not respond:

Michel Boucher

Arsène Huberdeau

Roland Saurette

Lefco Doche

Robert Buye M’vondo

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