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St. James - Assiniboia: King Edward - Deer Lodge ward

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KING EDWARD - DEER LODGE WARD (3 to be elected)

Roxane Delbridge

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 the only incumbent trustee. I have not served on or ran at an other political levels nor an I 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?

My children have never been enrolled in an independent school nor home-schooled and are currently attending St.James Collegiate & Linwood School in St.James - Assiniboia School division in the King Edward / Deer Lodge ward.

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 TIG(Tax Incentive Grant ) was set into place by the province to encourage divisions not to increase the school property tax (mill rate). St. James - Assiniboia School Division has the lowest school property tax in Winnipeg and I will continue to work on maintaining a low mill rate without jeopardizing the quality of education.
  2. In the future on issues such as report card assessments I will push for our division to have more public consultation and input prior to implementing significant changes.
  3. On an annual bases the budget continues to a topic for discussion and debate.Continue to have a 5 year strat. plan is important for current and future planning for the budget
  4. With increased demand for special needs resource.
  5. Technology upgrades

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. Infrastructure and capital upgrades to our facilities
  2. Funding required for addition resources for special needs students
  3. Additional funding for operating budgets
  4. Safety and security upgrades to our schools to ensure a safe environment for our students and staff
  5. Funding for technology 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?

Any increases are dependent on a number of circumstances

  • inflation
  • increases responsibilities and qualifications
  • keeping in mind budget concerns

As far as cutting staff or increasing staff within St. James - Assiniboia School Division it is always dependent on the demands and requirements needed. At this point in time there is no need to make any cuts, however there are some areas that we could use some additional staff. It is important to balance what is affordable and what is required.

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)?

Further research has to be concluded before the moratorium is lifted however I feel that there are special circumstances in some divisions that should be considered.

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 don't support program and services cuts. I see the work the staff do on a daily bases with the additional hours, dedication and devotion to the students. I would not vote in favor of a wage freeze or cut to our staff.

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

Yes, if required to maintain and improve our current standards. I would rather increase property tax slightly than to increase user fees. User fees typically effect middle to lower income families more than a modest tax increase.

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 countless research that stats to fail a student can be more detrimental and long lasting in effect on the students within other areas of their advancement. I believe it is better to be aware of a students needs for additional supports and provide support.

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

No. Studies have shown that standardized tests do not portray an accurate depiction of what the students are capable of accomplishing.

 

Scott Johnston

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 – However I am seeking Re Election to the Board. I have never served or ran at other political levels. I am not running for a particular political party as I don’t believe there should party politics at the municipal level.

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 wife and I have two children who have recently graduated from the St. James Assiniboia School Division. Both our children were wholly educated in St. James Assiniboia.

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. Financing education – Our funding allocation from the Provincial Government is at 58.3 percent. That puts a great deal of stress on our special levy. It’s my position that the Provincial Government must fulfill a greater obligation. The Provincial Government is downloading the financial responsibilities of education onto local school boards and that has to stop. We need to lobby the Provincial Government to increase their funding of Education.
  2. Continued decline in enrolment – Our school division is still experiencing a decline in enrolment. This creates an additional strain on our expenditures. We must reduce staff through attrition as well as continue to evaluate our overall operations.
  3. Assessment and Directions – The School division will need to implement the Provincial Government`s direction on assessment in the upcoming year. – I believe in assessment and evaluation. Our administration will need the support of the school board when implementing these directions.
  4. Expansion full day kindergarten program - Full day kindergarten is currently available in some schools in the School division. I would support pilot programs in other schools to determine viability.
  5. New School Board of Trustees – The St. James Assiniboia School Board is going to go through a major change after this election. There are four trustees out of nine that will not be returning. I believe I can make a major contribution to the new board.

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. Sharing more of the cost to accommodate our special needs students.
  2. Additional funds to address some of our aging buildings infrastructure needs.
  3. Continuing to establish bus loops and drop zones
  4. Upgrades of high school computer tech labs.
  5. Increased funding for energy efficiency initiatives.

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?

My position is to deal fairly with people. My position on salary increases would be based on inflation. At this time, due to declining enrolment I would take a reduction position through 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)?

The moratorium on school closings should be lifted. There are pending closures based on schools reviews that have taken place. I support the monitoring of our school enrolment patterns and initiating a school review if the potential numbers support it.

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 – As elected trustees it is our responsibility to act on behalf of our tax payers. If the division has needs we must judge those needs and act accordingly.

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

Yes - As elected trustees it is our responsibility to act on behalf of our tax payers.

If the division has needs we must judge those needs and act accordingly. There are costs that the school division has to endure over which they have no control. If provincial funding does not address those costs the school board has to make some tough decisions. I believe that the community would accept moderate increases provided they can be rationalized.

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 a no fail policy.

I believe that students who fail to meet a grade requirement should repeat the grade.

I think it should be at the discretion of the teacher whether marks are taken off 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?

I believe that there has to be standards. Currently there are provincial assessments in grade 12 English and mathematics which represent 30% of a student`s final grade, which I support.

 

Kelly-Ann Stevenson

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 and this is my first time running for a political position. I am not running for a political party.

I have an extensive history of involvement on a Board of Directors which represents public sector workers. This vast experience as a Board member has allowed me to achieve a strong understanding of Board governance and the ability to work as a member of a team.

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 do not have any children of my own. I do have a "nephew" (extended family) attending Buchannan School in the St. James Assiniboia School Division. I have 25 years of experience as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse working with children and adolescents and their families.

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 – To be able to meet all the budget demands while improving programs, quality and resources, with limited provincial funding increases. The School Board will need to achieve a balance between the educational needs and a low taxation rate.
  2. St. James-Assiniboia Teachers’ Association - Manitoba Teachers Association Negotiations - Staff salaries and settlements – their contract expired in June 2010. I recognize and respect the collective bargaining process. I would support a fair and reasonable percentage increase that is consistent with other public sector workers within the province.
  3. Declining enrolment – need to find effective and innovative ways to maintain current levels of funding and resourcing.
  4. Aging schools/building repairs – buildings should be carefully assessed and repaired to ensure student and staff safety and that the school is a healthy environment for learning.
  5. Changing demographics within the division and learning needs and how best to meet those their unique needs; there will be increased demands for budget adjustments.

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.

What is sadly missing in this the St. James Assiniboia School Division (SJSD) Budget 2010-2011 is any capital expenses for expansion and development of the school curriculum and the development of any after school programs.

I would give priority to safety and health matters:

I. Plan for the repairs / renovations of school buildings,

a. Upgrade fire alarms; for Stevenson School and John Taylor

b. Replace electrical distribution panels and improve and update electrical systems; Hedges Middle School , John Taylor Collegiate, Westwood School

c. Washroom repairs; Assiniboine School, Jameswood School, Lakewood School, St. James Collegiate, Strathmillan School

d. Replace flooring in classrooms and gymnasiums; Assiniboine School, Bruce Middle School, Golden Gate Middle School, Jameswood School, Ness Middle School, Sansome School, St. James Collegiate, Stevenson School, Westwood Collegiate.

II. Aging Technology Network Upgrades:

a. Renovate Cosmetology Classroom; St. James Collegiate

All these capital projects are noted in the St. James Assiniboia School Division (SJSD) Budget 2010-2011.

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 recognize and respect the collective bargaining process. I would wait to receive the outcome of employer-employee negotiations and address any issue(s) that require my attention at that time.

I support maintaining teaching services in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division and a change to status quo would require careful and comprehensive deliberation.

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)?

In April 2008 the Manitoba government introduced Bill 28 which enacted a moratorium on school closures. I would suggest that any changes and/or recommendations to this Bill be done in joint consultation with stakeholders.

Before the Government introduced this bill in April 2008 two schools were being considered for amalgamation in the St. James-Assiniboia School division – Hedges Middle School and Ness Middle School. These two schools are less than two kilometers from each other and both are operating below capacity. In the past 20 years St. James-Assiniboine has closed 15 schools.

I suggest that before any closure or amalgamation of any school(s) there should a comprehensive review, public / town hall meetings. The closure of any school is devastating to any community and the decision should only be done when there are no other feasible options.

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 St. James-Assiniboia School Division (SJSD) received the 2009 Tax Incentive Grant (TIG). SJSD did not qualify for the TIG for 2010.

I require additional information. After receiving and reviewing the information I would have to choose one of the following three options:

  1. SJSD would need to reduce planned expenditures or
  2. SJSD would need to raise additional revenues to receive an additional 2010 TIG.
  3. SJSD would stay status quo and would not qualify for TIG for 2010

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

I will be fiscally responsible ensuring the budget reflects the local priorities for children, schools and residents. There needs to be balance between educational needs and low taxation.

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?

The issue of no-fail or allowing students to repeat a school year; should be done in a thorough manner in consultation with the parents, the child’s teacher and school principal on an individual case-by-case basis. Each child’s circumstance(s) are as individual as the child, and should be carefully reviewed and serious consideration needs to given to the social impact of having a child repeating a school year. There should be an emphasis on the importance of separating achievement from behaviour in order to get a true understanding of what a student knows or understands. To have a child repeat a grade would have to be an exceptional circumstance based on the fact(s) that this is in the best interest child and all parties would be in agreement. It is my understanding that the final decision rests with the school principal.

Docking marks for late assignments; again this needs to be evaluated on an individual case-by-case basis. If an assignment is given this is an important piece of assessment data there should be an expectation that the student will do the assignment. Simply providing students an opportunity to take a zero on an assignment because they have not done it or completed it on time does not teach them the importance of completing work or provide them the opportunity to demonstrate what they know.

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

Provincial standardized testing is set by the Manitoba Government - Department of Education. Divisional standardized testing is set by respective School division. Any changes and/or recommendations I suggest should be done in joint consultation with stakeholders.

Attention needs to be given what are the purposes / goals of standardized testing. What is the intent of the standardized testing? What will be done with the outcome results? The implementation of standardized testing would also have an impact on divisional curriculums and a standardized report card. Further information and investigation would be required here.

 

Jennifer Lawson

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 an inaugural experience for me. I am not an incumbent trustee, and have not served or run at other political levels. I am running as an independent candidate, and therefore I am not endorsed by any of the political parties.

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 attending schools in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division. Neither of my children have been home-schooled, nor have they attended independent schools. As well, I am a graduate of the St. James-Assiniboia school system, having attended Linwood School, Deer Lodge Junior High, and St. James Collegiate.

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 with all school boards, our local trustees will continue to be faced with their central responsibility – to provide students with a quality education. We must continue to support all students in meeting their potential through effective educational programs, including academics, the arts, athletics, trades programs, and special education. I believe that every student possesses strengths, as well as challenges. Our schools are responsible for ensuring that all students fully develop their strengths, and are supported in their challenges.
  2. The population in the St. James-Assiniboia community is becoming increasingly diverse. As with other areas of Winnipeg, St. James has experienced an influx of new Canadians. The school system must continue to work on training staff to address the unique needs of these students and families, in order to create a welcoming school environment, and to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of these children and their families.
  3. For several years, the St. James-Assiniboia School Division has had to deal with declining enrolment. As a result, it is important to be proactive in seeking ways to utilize school facilities. One effective approach to deal with this issue is to encourage connections between schools and the community, through continued use of school facilities for family centres, child care, recreation programs, and community organizations. Our school facilities are owned by the citizens of our community. As such, they should be utilized to their full capacity in order to serve our families and residents.
  4. Education is an ever-evolving field. Each year, new research and technological advances results in new approaches to teaching and learning. I believe that the school system will need to continue to respond to these changes by promoting lifelong learning for students, staff, and community members. Teachers and other staff must constantly be willing to change, try new strategies, and be open to new directions in order to increase the potential for student success. In the same way, students, parents, and community residents need to see education as a lifelong adventure and see learning as a continuous essential skill.
  5. In this election, there are fewer incumbents running in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division. As a result, the newly-elected School Board will be faced with the duty of responding to its community and building new relationships with its residents. I believe that the approach to this challenge is through trust and open communication. In the role of a trustee, the word "trust" must be maintained as the focus of the job. The needs of students and the community must always stay at the forefront of decision-making. Furthermore, the School Board must ensure open and honest communication with residents of the community. I am committed to being accessible to all members of the St. James-Assiniboia community in order to answer questions, discuss issues, and resolve concerns.

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 St. James-Assiniboia School Division require upgrading as a result of age. The newest buildings in this community are 35 to 40 years old, and some are more than double that age. My capital priorities are related to upgrading facilities:

  1. Upgrade heating systems in all buildings more than 50 years old. This is a health-related concern, as well as an energy-saving action.
  2. Assess and upgrade all school facilities for air quality and ventilation. This is an issue in any aging building, and must be addressed to ensure that students and staff are teaching and learning in a healthy environment.
  3. Replace roofs on schools with a flat-roof design. Schools such as Strathmillan require this upgrade for structural, as well as energy-saving reasons.
  4. Assess and upgrade all school facilities with regard to drinking water/water fountains. This is an issue related to plumbing pipes in any aging building, and is another health-related priority.
  5. Replace windows in school facilities to increase energy efficiency.

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 believe that teachers’ salaries should parallel other professional groups, and increases should reflect cost of living inflation as much as possible. I support a similar approach to salaries for other employee groups. In terms of staff complements, I believe that our school system is providing effective programming with the staffing that is now in place. As such, staffing should be maintained. However, staff complements must be established on an individual basis, considering local school issues and student needs. Therefore, the number of teachers in the division will change as needs 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)?

In the recent past, the St. James-Assiniboia School Board was considering this issue in relation to two middle schools in our community, those being Hedges and Ness Middle Schools. There was thought given to closing Ness and moving students to Hedges. Of course, there was concern in the local community about the potential impact of this decision. I am not a supporter of school closures, as I believe that students should have the opportunity to attend school in their immediate community if this is the choice of students and their families. I also believe that individual student needs are more easily and effectively addressed in a smaller school setting. At the same time, there is a serious concern with declining enrolment in St. James-Asssiniboia and, in order to ensure a viable school system, both financially and educationally, there needs to be ways to address this concern. My approach is to proactively seek alternative uses for school facilities so that budgets can be balanced and schools maintained.

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 first priority of a School Board is to ensure that students receive a high-quality education. Decisions must always be made with the best interests of students and school in mind. Therefore, I would not accept the province’s tax incentive grant and agree to freeze property taxes if it meant cutting jobs, services, or programs for children.

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

Taxpayers in St. James-Assiniboia currently pay the lowest taxes in the city. At the same time, schools offer a wealth of effective programs for students. This successful balance must be maintained in order to meet the needs of both students and taxpayers. I believe that the current School Board has proven its ability to sustain this balance, and there appears to be little current need to raise taxes. However, the issue of property tax increases must be based on factual information at the time of budget decision-making. As such, it may be necessary at some time in the future to modify tax rates in a fair and equitable manner, in order to respond to the needs of students and schools.

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

As a former teacher and school principal, I have seen both sides of this issue. When I was a classroom teacher, students were sometimes held back to repeat a grade, but only with parent support. In the same way, if parents were adamantly against their child being held back, the child usually progressed with their classmates. In recent times, there are definitely fewer children being held back. This is, in part, as a result of some of the research in the field of education, which indicates that failing a child does not often resolve academic concerns. Instead, it is viewed as more important to address the student's academic challenges through additional one-on-one supports and effective programming. In the past, when students were "failed" they often got no additional help, and therefore they did no better in school the next year. My main concern is to ensure that the supports are there for students who are having difficulty academically. There is a need for resource teachers, as well as educational assistants to work individually with students in order to help them succeed at school. To me, this is a more proactive and effective way to help children.

With regard to late assignments, I believe that it is a duty of the school to encourage students to develop skills of responsibility. As such, I do believe that students should be held accountable for submitting assignments on time, and that marks reflect this. Of course, there are extenuating circumstances, such as illness or legitimate personal/family issues, which must always be considered so that decisions are made fairly.

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 there is a role for standardized testing, but only at the higher levels within the school system when students are being prepared for post-secondary education or job training. In early years, students should be assessed using authentic measures that reflect their individual growth and development. Testing should be limited at this level. By middle years, students should be taught study skills and test preparation strategies, but tests should still be classroom or school-based. By senior years, as students are becoming more mature and accountable for their academic futures, there should be opportunities for standardized testing in core subject areas, such as English and Mathematics. However, these standardized tests should only be used in combination with other assessment strategies, such as portfolios, research projects, and performance-based tests that will offer a clear picture of individual student progress.

 

Did not respond:

Ed Hume

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