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River East Transcona: Ward 5

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WARD 5 (2 to be elected)

Jan Anderson

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

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, one in an RETSD high school and one in an RETSD middle years school.
  • No

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. Completion of teacher contract negotiations
  2. Continued debate re provincial moratorium on school closures
  3. School Taxes
  4. Budget Formulation
  5. Revitalization of language programs

4. List your top five capital priorities for your division and which you would favour your board submitting to the province for funding.

As a first time candidate I do not have the benefit of knowing everything the schools and administration in the division office have on their consideration list for capital funding requests so I will not prioritize specific items in my response.

Some capital expenditure items for which funding is available are transportation upgrading and additions, facilities upgrades and replacement (i.e. the handicap access improvements currently taking place in the RETSD), and changes to facilities to adapt to new use. Common sense in determining selection criteria plays a big role here: is it a safety issue; is it a large expenditure or a small one; is funding available to cover 5% or 95%?

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?

Teachers salaries are reasonably in line with other school divisions and I would support increases which continue to maintain those levels. Given the reduction in enrolment I would not be supporting an increase in the number of teachers at this time. My goal would be to maintain current numbers.

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

Last year RETSD was able to accept the province's tax incentive grant, freeze taxes, and reduce their workforce through attrition rather than cutting jobs, etc. I agree with that choice.

7. 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. Any school where enrolment drops to the point of our not being able to properly provide a full range of programs and services is a disservice to those students and should be considered for closure. There were two schools in the RETSD division (Westview and Sherwood) which were slated for closure and conducting an updated review of their status and analysis of the changes the school and surrounding community were able to make would be worthwhile, but reviewing all schools each year is a valuable exercise.

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

I don't believe we need to be looking at property tax increases at this particular time in this Division. When a School Board begins to see a problem in meeting the necessities of each school then tax increases are one area to consider but of course, being well aware of the economic status of your tax base is always high priority.

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 am not in favour of a blanket no-fail policy. There will always be students who have special needs and require special accommodation, but to not fail any student at any time is too lax. It is not necessary for students to repeat a school year when repeating a particular course with some additional help to improve their achievements would be sufficient. Docking marks for late assignments goes a long way to teaching respect of deadlines.

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 valuable at higher grade levels (perhaps Grade 9 or 10) in core subjects. At that point it is important for us to assess our success in preparing those students for their futures beyond our public schools. I would prefer standardized tests be used more for analysis of our success in providing the education. If you had to apply a particular percentage, perhaps 25%.

 

Peter Kotyk

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?

YES, NO, 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?

Children graduated from division. NO

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.

Issues division has to deal with over the next 4 years:

  1. declining enrolment
  2. provincial funding
  3. possible school closure
  4. senior succession planning
  5. contract negotiation

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.

Difficult to answer, because PSFB has their own criteria for funding ....large capitol projects generally are referred, sometimes smaller ones are more likely to be approved. Areas I'd like to get some attention include music facilitied at River East Collegiate, Chief Peguis and John Pritchard, Science labs at River East Collegiate and Library upgrade at REC, replacement of gym floors from concrete vinyl to wooden floors.

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?

What ever is agreed to by both sides.

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, we have to at least look at that option when enrolment falls below a certain number.

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?

Depends on the amount of the TIG versus the amount one has to cut. Previously the TIG required a reduction in budget of several million to receive approximately half a million, very difficult to justify that direction.

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

If RETSD received proper funding from the province there would be no need for an increase.

9. 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 competency tests, every situation is different and one size does not always fit. In order to make the tests fair all the students should have the same conditions, however this is not the case, therefore these result could paint a wrong impression.  What's most important is that students are competent.

Shirley Timm-Rudolph

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 running for the first time as a School Trustee in Ward 5 of the River East Transcona School Division. I served 14 years as a City Councillor representing both Springfield Heights and Transcona Wards. I am an independent School Trustee candidate and I have no political affiliation.

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?

Our daughter received her entire education and graduated from the River East School Division and we will have two grandchildren entering the education system in our area.

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. The River East Transcona School Division will have to deal with the issues of school closures, multi grade class rooms, the removal of school taxes from the property tax bill, standardized provincial report cards and standardized testing of students. My position on issues is as follows:
  2. The Province of Manitoba should remove their moratorium on school closures and allow the respective School Boards to govern accordingly in the best interest of the students and taxpayers.
  3. As for the multi grade classrooms, I do not support this type of an approach to education as the student’s ability to learn at their grade level will be compromised by an unfocused method of teaching (we need not look far back in history to those who received this type of educational in many rural communities).
  4. I am of the strong belief funding education does not belong on the property tax bill as there is no direct correlation to services provided or needed to ones home. That being said I am further very concerned about the ever increasing cost of education, we need to reduce the amount of School Divisions and School Trustees. Right now there are a total of six School Boards in the City of Winnipeg with 52 School Trustees; in my opinion this over governance. As compared to Alberta where there is only one School Board for the City of Calgary and the same for the City of Edmonton, resulting in far less government and high administration costs. These savings should be going directly to our student’s education. I am sad to say we desperately need a revamping of the education system in this province; as it seem to be out of touch with it primary responsibility the "education of our future workforce and leaders"!
  5. Finally, I am in support of both standardized testing and standardized report cards this way if a family was to move any where within the Province of Manitoba the student’s education and knowledge level would be implicit and measurable.

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.

Many of the schools in the River East Transcona School Division like other school divisions are aging and require capital repairs and replacements not unlike the infrastructure issues facing the City of Winnipeg.

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 like an opportunity to see a comparison review of teacher’s salaries within divisions across the city, province and other jurisdictions across Canada before I could fairly answer the question.

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)?

Please see number 3.

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 am open to reviewing the province’s tax incentive grant as I believe there are savings to be found within the operational costs of the school division without cutting services, programs and jobs.

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

No I do not support increasing 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?

I do not support or believe in a no fail policy or social promotion policy. Students should be given an opportunity to improve their grade standing otherwise yes they should be required to repeat the school year. I believe students are responsible to return their assignments within the established time frames; unless they have an acceptable written reason for tardiness from their guardian and/or doctor.

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

Please see number 3. For all subject matters this would apply from grades 7 to 12. They should make up to 30 to 35% of the final mark.

Received after deadline:

Marie Antaya

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? Have you served or run at other political levels?

NO, NO, 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?

NO, NO, My daughter is 10 months old. She will be attending one of the schools in the River East Transcona School Division once she is old enough.

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.

There are many issues school boards have to deal with each year. I will work with the other members of the board to address each issue and ensure we make the best choices for the students in the division.

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 don’t have any personal priorities. As a trustee, I’d have the responsibility to put forward questions and recommendations to the board regarding issues brought to the table. I will ensure that these questions and recommendations are well researched and in the best interest of the students, their families and the community.

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 school board will work with the representing union to make sure the teacher contracts meet the needs of all involved.

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 moratorium on school closings is a provincial decision.

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?

As a school board, the committee would have to look at the situation for that year and decide. The decision would be based on the needs of the students, their families and the community.

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

I cannot answer this question at this point. Each year, the school board has to review the budget. If an increase is necessary, it will be because it’s in the best interest of the students, their families and the community.

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?

NO, The decision regarding failure needs to be made with input from the teacher, the family and the principal.

10. Do you believe in standardized tests?

NO. The decision of standardized testing falls under provincial legislation. However, I do not agree that standardized testing best assesses the knowledge and skills of students.

Michael Hamm

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, 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?

My child is not yet of school age.

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. Programming and students with special needs: ensuring high quality programming through the continuous education for teachers, up to date use of available technologies, and unique requirements of those with special needs.
  2. Safety in schools: ensuring schools are a safe place for students and staff
  3. Contract negotiations: see answer to #5
  4. Facilities: see answer to #4
  5. Funding/property taxes: see answer to #8

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 would review with the board any capital funding requests by the schools, but am not currently familiar with specific needs.

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 support cost of living increases. Teacher levels can be maintained in order to support manageable class sizes.

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, any schools that fall below the minimum enrollment criteria should be reviewed for closure. The funds could be redirected to improve transportation for students in the affected areas.

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 would need to be reviewed on an annual basis. See also answer to #8.

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

In most cases I would not support an increase in property taxes. I believe there are always efficiencies that can be found to reduce costs, including the creation of a single city-wide school division to reduce the amount of administrative overlap and the variation in compensation between the school divisions. Additionally, I feel that education funding should be removed from the responsibility of the school division and property owners, and funded fully by the provincial government.

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?

Students should be given opportunities to improve marks at the discretion of the teacher, parents and principal; and failing that, the student should repeat the school year. Late assignments should be docked marks unless there is a valid reason for it being late. This will better prepare students for life after school.

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 standardized testing is a valid method for determining the level of understanding of later year students in core subjects. The test should be worth no more than 25% of the final grade.

Did not respond:

Derek Litke

History

Updated on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 12:54 PM CDT: Adds answers from Michael Hamm, who responded after the deadline.

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