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Pembina Trails: Ward 2

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WARD 2 (3 to be elected)

Sue Clayton

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. I have not run for any political party and have never been supported by 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?

We have three children and all have been educated in Pembina Trails. Our oldest graduated from Shaftesbury high school and is at the U of M. Our second son is in Grade 12 at Shaftesbury and our youngest child is in Grade 6 at Ecole Van Walleghem School.

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. Education funding will continue to be an issue as schools are responsible for much more than basic education. Appropriate funding needs to follow this increased mandate for public education.
  2. There is an increase in students in the division where English or French is not their first language and supports need to be provided to help these students be successful.
  3. There is a changing culture in society with respect to quick access to information and social networking. That offers us both challenges and opportunities to engage students in the classroom. An example of innovation in this area is the new Ed-U-Tube pilot our Division is engaged in.
  4. The Board needs to continue to work on communicating with our community in a meaningful way in order to try and engage them in public education conversations.
  5. Contract negotiations are underway with some employee groups this year.

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. One of the largest capital issues for Pembina Trails is the development of Waverley West. This will take a significant amount of planning and study. How quickly K to 8 schools and a high school are built there by the Public Schools Finance Board (PSFB) will be influenced by how quickly the student population grows in the area.
  2. I have long advocated to the PSFB for a new high school facility to service the communities of Linden Woods, Linden Ridge and Whyte Ridge.
  3. Shaftesbury is currently receiving a new library addition and special needs area. Two of our other high schools require expanded special needs areas while other schools in the Division need their facilities to become accessible for special needs students. (PSFB request)
  4. Ecole Crane and Ecole St. Avila schools need expanded gymnasiums. (PSFB request)
  5. We need to properly maintain our existing schools and the Division has dedicated significant money into this area in recent years. We have also recently added daycares in Linden Meadows and Whyte Ridge Schools and need to continue the planning for more.

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?

We are currently negotiating a new contract with our teachers so it would not be appropriate to discuss salaries during the negotiations. There are formulas that the Board has adopted which determine the numbers of teachers hired based on enrollment or specific programs.

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)?

Yes, the moratorium should be lifted. I hope the Province works with community members and school Divisions to develop appropriate guidelines for both Divisions and communities on this issue. The Board was reviewing Chapman school when the moratorium was imposed.

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 last two years, the Division did make cuts and accept the TIG. Every year when studying the TIG, the Division needs to balance the impact on the services versus the impact on the local taxpayer.

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

I believe it is a legitimate goal to see increases in the same range as inflation.

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?

There is not a no-fail policy. Students do repeat a grade when the school personnel and parents agree it is in the child’s best interest.

Yes, in high school students should be docked marks for a late assignment when it is the final due date. There may be many important opportunities for feedback and assessment before that final date though where the student would potentially not be docked marks.

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 current standardized tests done in Grade 12 and support the wide array of assessment data gathered in the middle years and early year such as Strong Beginnings.

 

David Johnson

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. I have never served or run for other political offices. I am not 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 currently enrolled in Pembina Trails Schools and have only been educated in Pembina Trails Schools.

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.

Pembina Trails will face a number of important issues over the next year. If re-elected I will work to ensure that the Division’s top priorities are:

  1. Student Academic Achievement – ensuring that students have the support they need to excel;
  2. Ensuring that teachers have the support and resources that they need;
  3. Ensuring that our schools provide a safe and caring learning environment;
  4. Engaging our communities;
  5. Providing prudent financial management.

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. New High School to serve the communities of Linden Woods, Whyte Ridge, Linden Ridge and Waverley West;
  2. Upgrades and renovations to Vincent Massey Collegiate;
  3. New K to 8 Schools for the new communities within Waverly West;
  4. Upgrading/expanding gymnasiums in elementary schools;
  5. Enclosing the remaining open area classrooms in schools within the Division

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?

I support the collective bargaining process. We are in the process of negotiating a contract with the Teacher’s Association and it would be inappropriate for me to speculate about wage increases outside of negotiations.

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 decides to lift its moratorium on school closings it should provide clear direction and guidelines for the process of closing schools. I support neighbourhood schools and I favour trying to find ways of keeping smaller schools viable.

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 decision by Pembina Trails Board to accept the provinces tax incentive grant in the last two fiscal years. At this point in time we do not sufficient information to determine whether it would be feasible to accept the TIG next year.

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

I believe that ideally property taxes should be increased at the rate of inflation.

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?

We do not have a "no fail" policy in the Pembina Trails School Division. I believe that if children are falling behind or struggling in school we need to put in place the supports that are necessary to ensure that they succeed. A decision to hold back a child should be based on what is in the best interest of that child and should always involve the parents/guardians.

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 that standardized testing can provide schools and school divisions with valuable data which can used to improve educational decision making. I support the standardized testing in place for high school students. In middle and early years the Division has developed a comprehensive assessment practice that provides data for programming, instruction and reporting to parents.

 

Tim Johnson

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 was first elected in 2006 and I am running for re-election in 2010. I am not affiliated with any political parties - Federal or Provincial. I have been fortunate to have the support of friends during my campaigns and I have not, and will not, run on behalf of a political party for the office of School Trustee.

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?

Lisa and I currently have 4 children enrolled in early and middle year programs in Pembina Trails School Division. We believe in the Public School System and we support the choices made by friends who have chosen the private or home schooling options.

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.

The Board will be challenged to effectively address many issues over the next year. Some of the top issues include: maintaining safe school environments; teacher salary negotiations; adequate funding for education in the context of the current economy; the provincial immigration policy and the impact on public schools; and ensuring students are engaged in learning.

With respect to where I stand on these issues, and in order of appearance: we must remain committed to ensuring student and staff safety utilizing our School Resource Officer initiative; we are currently in salary negotiations so I cannot comment on this issue; we must work hard to hold the line on taxation in these uncertain economic times; we must ensure that our schools have the necessary resources to educate all students including the English as Second Language learner; and, we must continue to explore creative ways to engage the new learner and ensure that we provide education that meets the needs of our students.

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 Capital project list is developed by Senior Management and is reviewed by the Board. The list attempts to address the needs of the Division in the context of limited budgets at the Public Schools Finance Board (PSFB). The priorities on the list are set based on Divisional need, balanced against realistic expectations of receiving funding given the size of the project. In the absence of funding constraints several top picks emerge: A new high school for the communities of Linden Woods, Whyte Ridge, Waverly West, and Linden Ridge; new gymnasium for Ecole Crane; alterations at Vincent Massey Collegiate; building envelope upgrades; and, HVAC system upgrades for several schools throughout the Division.

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?

A fair annual salary increase would be appropriate. Pembina Trails currently has the lowest pupil teacher ratio in Metro Winnipeg and this is unlikely to change.

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 province should lift the moratorium on school closures only when they have defined an appropriate set of guidelines for divisions and the affected communities to follow. The new guidelines should clearly define acceptable student enrollment levels so an appropriate review can be undertaken.

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 Pembina Trails board of Trustees has said yes to the TIG for the past two years and programming has not suffered. The Division continues to focus on the "core" subject requirements and is continually looking at creative ways to expand educational opportunities.

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

The Division has held the line on taxation and there has been advancement in educational programming. By finding new and creative approaches to expanding programming opportunities at our schools we are getting better value for our educational expenses.

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 and the decision to hold back a student should be based on the individual student and in consultation with the parents. In Pembina Trails students who are struggling receive additional support. The frequency of students failing a grade has dropped significantly due to these additional supports.

Students are docked 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?

Standardized tests are used in Pembina Trails School Division and provide valued information to the Division. The high school test results have my support and are one of the many indicators used for assessing student learning, programming and instruction in the Division. As a parent and Trustee, I support the use of Strong Beginnings which is very effective for student assessment and programming in the early and middle year classroom.

Tina Strong

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 am running as an independent candidate for the Pembina Trails Ward 2.

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 two children currently enrolled in the Pembina Trails School 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.

The Issues for the Pembina Trails

  1. Smaller class size
  2. Ensuring teachers have adequate resources
  3. Better use of modern teaching methods
  4. Less school user fees
  5. Avoid educational tax increases
  6. A better commitment to safe and healthy learning.
  7. New High School for Pembina Trails.

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. Technology
  2. School Maintenance
  3. Textbook/Learning Aids
  4. School Safety
  5. Staffing

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?

I would factor in all the information before making any feasible decisions. School with more students may require more staff while schools with fewer students may encounter staffing cuts. Overall the number of teachers would likely not change. Salary increases are already negotiated with the union.

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)?

Yes, they should lift the moratorium because new schools may be needed in growing communities such as Pembina Trails.

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?

Sometimes program cuts are necessary however I would not cut any programs without being convinced that there is a strong reason to cut them and they won’t impact the quality of education.

8. Would you increase property taxes? If so, what percentage increase is acceptable and for what specific reasons?

No I don’t feel that property tax increases will be needed.

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 would need to consult with teachers. The slower student should not be taking so much of the teacher’s time that the other students suffer, but if possible the slower student should be allowed to stay with student their own age (friends). Students should be docked for late assignments because it will teach them a life lesson that there are consequences.

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 because it is the only objective way to evaluate the teachers and the entire school system. If the standardized test is well designed, the results represent the outcome of the entire school system which should be compared to the goals and standards of the Manitoba educational system. It will help us determine if taxpayer are getting value for the money.

 

Norm Wylie

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?

No

No

No, in my opinion people should not bring their political parties agenda into the public school system. And running for trustee should not be used as a stepping stone for a persons own political career.(As many others do)

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?

No. My son is 16 months old. He will not be enrolled in public schools until he at least stops teething.

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. Budget: Job of a trustee maximize the value of the tax paying property owner's dollars
  2. Safety: Make sure every child feels safe in and around school
  3. Class Size: In the students best interests, the classroom size must be manageable with as much one on one student-teacher time as needed
  4. Special Needs Students: Every student deserves the best at what our public schools have to offer
  5. Physical Education and Nutrition: Too many obese kids nowadays

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. Budget and Governance: Make sure there is clear communication and transparency within the division and all divisions - No
  2. Upgrade Technology - Yes
  3. School Facilities and Maintenance - Yes
  4. Student Services and Programs - Yes
  5. Amalgamation of school divisions: If it make sense, why not do it? - No

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?

Cost of living plus 1-2%

Maintain

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)?

Not at this time. Schools are much harder to open than to close.

I have not seen this information so I cannot comment.

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?

No, If it means cutting jobs, services and programs, then absolutely not. I would then propose to government that they reevaluate what they feel what our kids are worth.

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

No.

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?

While I understand why there is such a policy, I don't believe it is helping the students as future adults, in the long run

Some situations, yes

Yes without question

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

Yes in some subjects

Math, Grade 8 and up

25%

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