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Pembina Trails: Ward 1

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WARD 1 (3 to be elected)

Jim Komenda

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?

I am not an incumbent trustee. I have not served or run at other political levels. I am not running for any political party.

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 have one child that graduated from this division.

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. Raising taxes. I feel that all school divisions should more aggressively pursue the Provincial Government to stop off-loading their responsibility on the municipalities and restore 80% funding of our Education.
  2. Ensuring safe schools. I believe that every student has a right to learn in a non-threatening environment. There should be zero tolerance for any type of bullying.
  3. Dealing effectively with the ever expanding technology. It is imperative that teachers keep abreast of the latest technologies through the use of professional development days .
  4. Dealing with student evaluation. I believe that report cards should accurately show how the student is doing.
  5. Dealing with teacher evaluation. I believe in a fair system of evaluation that is not capricious and one that helps a struggling teacher improve their teaching skills.

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.

As a new candidate I feel I am not conversant at this time to make a list of capital priorities.

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?

During these tough economic times I feel that salary increases should be held to the rate of inflation.

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)?

I believe the province should lift its moratorium on school closing. I believe that Chapman School should be reviewed.

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?

I would not accept the province's tax incentive grant.

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

I would not increase 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?

I do not believe in the so-called no-fail social promotion policy. I believe that failed students would benefit from repeating a school year. I also believe in docking marks for late assignments if there are no extenuating circumstances.

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

I believe in standardized testing in grades 6, 9, and 12. in Language Arts, Math, and Science.

 

Gerry Melnyk

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?

I am an incumbent Trustee having served on the Pembina Trails School Division and the legacy Assiniboine South School Division #3 Boards of Trustees. As well, I have served on the Board of Governors at the Winnipeg Technical College. I have not served or ran as a candidate at any other political level. I am not running on behalf of any political party.

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?

My son, James, and my daughter, Kristin, attended K-12 in the Pembina Trails School Division and graduated from Oak Park High School. My grandson currently is enrolled in a Pembina Trails school in Grade One.

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. As the learning environment/climate becomes more complex Boards/Senior and School Administrators and Management must act together to optimize value for your money. As a result, through our Board Leadership Initiative, we have embarked on an extended dialogue and consultation with all of our community and educational stakeholders. I support our objectives to raise academic standards such as literacy and numeracy skills and increased student engagement and achievement. The Board must continue the practice of empowering administrators and teachers to be innovative and creative so as to build capacity for increased student achievement. I will continue to support enhanced professional development opportunities which will give staff the skills and strategies to actively engage learners with varied learning styles/multiple intelligences. As well, we must analyze our data to identify needs and develop strategies to improve outcomes.
  2. The development of Standardized Provincial Report Cards will have an impact on Board discussion and deliberation this coming year. I support our Board’s decision to volunteer to actively facilitate this process with the Department of Education and Minister.
  3. We will be continuing to create and maintain safe and caring learning communities. This includes enhanced Workplace, Health and Safety and Security Strategies. I will lobby for and support the implementation of AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators) in all of our Divisional facilities and schools. We have an AED in each of our high schools. As well, we must continue to monitor and amend policy and regulations as they apply to our stakeholders (Standard of Behaviour and Respect Training to name a few).
  4. Our ‘Principled Coaching Practices’ and ‘Respect in Sport’ will continue to be topics for discussion this next year. I support our attempts to address identified concerns regarding coaching behaviours and commend our directors and coaches for their synergy in finding solutions in order that student athletes are treated equitably and appropriately.
  5. Trustees must possess a vision of relevance in order that our high school students leave with current skills. Crafting a draft budget that envisions expanding educational opportunities for our students is an on going process each and every year. As stewards of the public money trustees have to take an active part in setting the vision and seeing that the Division is managed efficiently.

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.

My top five capital priorities to be submitted to the province are:

  1. Fort Richmond Collegiate-6 classroom addition with interior renovations to accommodate the needs of the school’s special needs program.
  2. Oak Park High School-Build a 3000 sq. ft. Special Needs Addition.
  3. Chancellor School-Close in open area classrooms.
  4. Ecole St. Avila-Gymnasium expansion.
  5. Ecole Crane-Gymnasium expansion.

These are the pressing priorities for PTSD. The Waverley West needs for K-8 Schools are going to become issues shortly.

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?

Presently, The Board has entered into negotiations with the Pembina Trails Teachers’ Association and we have a trust relationship that neither party will discuss or negotiate in the media. These negotiations are confidential and therefore, the entire question cannot be answered at this time.

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)?

This is outside the scope of our governance jurisdiction. It would be more appropriate if MLAs were to comment on Provincial matters. School closure will require a great deal of consultation with the community and has many components. I support neighbourhood-community based schools because of the importance of our youth staying connected to their local school.

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?

This past year the Board did accept the Tax Incentive Grant after making appropriate expenditure reductions in order to qualify, thereby providing Tax relief to resident home owners. There is a continuation of all existing educational programs and services.

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

First and foremost, the interest of the student is paramount! I believe in long term Tax stabilization and make balanced decisions based on evidence and facts after considering the alternatives. My view would be increasing public school taxes would be a last resort after having explored other methods of meeting financial objectives. We must be consistent with providing a quality education within budget.

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?

This is not a Policy of our Board. Responsibility lies with our Superintendent and our Principals. Docking marks is a teacher’s responsibility, but is not supported by the province. The term ‘failed student’ is too simplistic. ‘Failed students’ is not a term that applies to students. There may be deficiencies in areas that require remedial upgrading but each student will have an Individual Education Plan.

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

Yes,I support our current provincial policy. This is another question that should be directed to our provincial MLAs who have jurisdiction over standardized tests. Thirty percent (30%) is an appropriate proportion of the final mark. I support standardized tests at the grade 12 level for Mathematics and Language Arts.

 

Gail Watson

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?

I am an incumbent trustee. While I did run unsuccessfully for a political party in a provincial election well over a decade ago, I am not running for a political party in this election.

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?

Both of our children attended and graduated from schools in the Division.

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. Making sure our financial resources are spent wisely by balancing educational needs with the dollars available;
  2. Ensuring our school environments are safe places to work and learn;
  3. Engaging students in their learning and meeting their diverse needs;
  4. Ensuring student academic success by providing classroom support for curriculum implementation, access to new technologies and staff development;
  5. Improving our buildings with up dates to classrooms, libraries, music rooms, science labs, etc.

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.

The priorities of the Division are submitted yearly to the Public Schools Finance Board for consideration. These priorities have received my support.

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 Division has just opened negotiations with the Pembina Trails Teachers Association, hence comments would not be appropriate.

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)?

I believe in the value of neighbourhood schools and hope the Province will clarify the process and guidelines for school closure if the moratorium is lifted.

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?

Pembina Trails decided to not accept the tax incentive grant the first year it was offered by the province. In the following two years the board decided it was beneficial to accept the TIG. I voted in favour of all three decisions.

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

Increasing property taxes by the rate of inflation is acceptable in my opinion.

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?

Pembina Trails School Division does not have a "no fail" policy. A decision of this nature is made by those most involved with the child ---parents, classroom teacher and other school personnel connected to the pupil in question.

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

I support the Provincial standardized tests at the high school level. Pembina Trails has focused on developing comprehensive assessment practices over the past few years and has assembled considerable data in regard to the learning of students. The assessment data is used by schools and the Division in educational decision making.

 

Dianne Zuk

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?

I am an incumbent trustee, elected in 2006. I have not run for other political levels nor am I running for a political party.

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?

Both of my children are graduates of the public school system.

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.

I believe we must be ready to respond to the many needs of the 21st Century student and provide the resources needed for successful learning. Among my priorities are:

  1. Literacy
  2. The Creative Arts
  3. English as an Additional Language
  4. Technology in the classroom
  5. Student academic achievement

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.

I support the priorities that Pembina Trails has submitted to the Public School Finance Board including new schools for Waverley West. Ward 1 priority is a Special Needs addition for Ecole Secondaire Oak Park High School.

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?

Currently, the Division is in the process of negotiations and it would not be appropriate to comment at this time.

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)?

If the province lifts its moratorium on school closings, there should be clear guidelines for school divisions and the communities that may be affected.

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?

I have supported the Board’s decision to accept the tax incentive grant for the last two years.

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

The Board has developed a consultation process to elicit feedback from the community on the budget. It is a complex process weighing both the needs of the children and schools while maintaining fiscal responsibility and consideration for the tax payer.

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?

Pembina Trails does not have a no-fail policy. Decisions are based on the needs of the individual student, teacher information and consultation with parents. Students do lose marks for late assignments

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

There are standards tests for high school subjects which I support. The Division has developed a comprehensive assessment practice at the Middle and Early Years such as Strong Beginnings that provide data for programming, instruction and reporting to parents.

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