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River East Transcona: Ward 1

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WARD 1 (2 to be elected)

 

David Kendall

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?

This is my first campaign.

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 in the division, one is in grade 3 at Westview, and one is in grade 1 at École Centrale.

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. Declining enrolment in schools should be offset by not replacing some retiring teachers, as well as combining grades
  2. Smaller schools have to be utilized to their full potential to keep them as the vital links in their communities, perhaps by leasing out space for needed community services, like day care
  3. The inevitability of rising costs should definitely not be exacerbated by a raise in trustee salaries

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. School lunch and breakfast programs, especially assisting those students coming from low-income households
  2. After school programs to keep kids occupied and providing a beneficial target for their energy and providing an increased role of the schools in the betterment of their communities
  3. Funding for in-school social workers for children who aren't performing in school
  4. Upgrading structures and other items that are in need of repair
  5. Technological upgrades for schools to improve the learning process

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 number of students in RETSD, like several other divisions, is on a slight downward trend. An increase in the number of teachers is not needed for this division, and teaching salaries can be maintained at current levels.

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)?

No, I don't believe that a lifting of the moratorium in RETSD would be a good idea, as our schools, even the ones that were recently slated for closure, are currently healthy in healthy neighbourhoods.

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?

Hopefully, freezing property taxes, if it possibly results in a cut in services, would leave more money in the pockets of taxpayers to transform the cut services into user-pay services.

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

No, I'm a firm believer that we should get funding for schools away from the property tax and have it funded by the provincial government, as other core services like health are.

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 don't believe in "no-fail", as this just graduates students whose real only qualification for being in the next grade is that they are the same age as their classmates; this sends the student farther behind, as they are less prepared for their new grade. Students should be able to repeat a year until they have proven they can adequately master the learning material, as well as be docked marks for late assignments. School prepares our children for the real world after school, and in the real world promotions only come when one has proven they can master the work at their own level. Consequences are given in the real world for tardiness in the workforce. Children should be prepared for that.

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 beneficial as it gives a more accurate representation of how children fare against all their peers, from other divisions as well as in their own class. It could also be used to pinpoint which schools need to improve their teaching methods, if one in particular school is showing to be below the average in a standardized test.

 

Dan Richard

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, first time running

No, never served or run at other political levels

No, 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?

Yes, 2 children right now – 1 in Grade 5 at Ecole Regent Park and the other in Grade 2 at Ecole Centrale (3rd child is only 1 years old)

Second question – no, never home schooled or enrolled in an independent 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. Outstanding contract for teachers – As there is a Negotiations Committee within the division and a labour relations service provided by the MB Schools Board Assocation; this is where the detailed negotiations would occur. Within budgetary constraints it would be beneficial to be able to provide for increases to pay.
  2. Declining enrolment – There needs to be continued review of the affected schools and the division overall with a specific strategy focus of the division on dealing with this.
  3. Aging facilities, cost to repair/maintain – The board will have to make sure there is sufficient budget allocations to meet these costs, and to ensure the reserve is maintained at an acceptable level to be able to deal with unexpected costs.
  4. The budget and acceptance of Tax Incentive Grant – With the tax freeze this year, the decision within the next year for 2011/12 will need to determine if the TIG would be accepted again, if available; and the board will have to decide what is best for division at that time when the financial information is more current.
  5. Requests for use-of-space – As there is policy on this, there could be additional discussions as to ability to raise additional revenue from use, which could assist in the gap of expenditures over revenue.

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 replacement
  2. Program facilities upgrade/maintenance
  3. Gymnasium bleacher replacement
  4. Bus purchases
  5. School grounds upgrades

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?

An increase that balances the rate of inflation and cost of living increases would be fair.

The number of teachers would need to be reviewed annually with the budget, to determine the needs and the available funding (this year RETSD reduced the number mainly due to attrition).

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 moratorium could be amended to be able to deal more locally with the implications of closing a school (which is done with much deliberation and over time), to make the process easier if it is properly justified.

Yes, there is are at least two – Sherwood which would have closed except for the moratorium and Westview which was under review for closure in 2009

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 was done for 2010/11 school year by RETSD where the teaching positions eliminated were through attrition and had limited impact on the programs and services. As one member of the division board, my decision would need to balance the whole division requirements and then vote on the best course of action that would benefit the division. Declining enrolment is problematic in the division where comparing September 30, 2008 to September 30, 2009 the division had the largest decline of 274 students. Where this would need to be taken into consideration as this may impact the decision on the number of jobs.

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

This would have to take into account if the Tax Incentive Grant would be accepted; as that is conditional on a rate freeze.

If an increase was required, it would need to be justified on the basis of certain divisional requirements – that might include, but not be limited to:

  1. an increase in the teachers contract (as salaries and benefits account for roughly 85% of total expenditures),
  2. the need to maintain/repair aging schools in the division, and
  3. the need to improve technology in the division.

The percentage increase (if required) would then need to be determined based on the requirements and the expected revenue gap to meet the expenditures; where this gap could for example still be filled by operational efficiencies or other revenue.

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 so-called policy indicates merits to keep students with their peers; but then removes the expert (teacher) from providing an evaluation based on the individual student, which may not benefit the student. As there is no written policy on this for our division it is hard to comment on it specifically.

If the student does not have sufficient knowledge in the required courses, then it would be reasonable that they should repeat those as required; this may or may not lead to the need to repeat a whole year – possibly through summer school to complete the courses they require.

This should be left up to the discretion of the teacher, as long as it is applied equally and everyone in the class is aware of this classroom policy.

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

As the Province has moved away from this for Grades 3, 6 & 9, but still do it for Grade 12; it would be something that would need to be reviewed.

If it was brought back for all grades it should be used for core subjects like Math, Language Arts and English – focus on Grades 6-9

The standardized tests should not make up a large proportion if any of the final mark, rather they would best be used for statistical information for comparison Province wide; and then decisions as to focus areas could be made for divisions/schools based on the findings.

Did not respond:

Colleen Carswell

Amanda Giesbrecht

Derek Goodman

George Marshall

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