So who should you vote for in Ward 11 and 13?

With an election happening in 9 days (April 13th) and advance polls open, have you decided who to vote for? If not, we hope to help with this rundown. All 5 Candidates had a chance to speak about their positions on a variety of issues. It was the first time we had a chance to hear from all of the candidates together. At the forum, I found it interesting that ALL candidates answered the question “Should Authority over schools be with CBE Administration or Principal” with “The Principal”.

In reverse alphabetical order, lets start with Wilf Phillips. Wilf ran for trustee in 2013, coming 3rd against long time Trustee Lynn Ferguson. On his website, he promises Transparency, Integrity, Accountability. He describes himself as a life long learner, with 37 years in Public Education as a teacher and life long Calgarian. During the Forum, he spoke often about “probing” questions, saying he doesn’t just accept the first answer that comes along. He feels a trustee should dig deeper and he won’t just blindly accept what someone is telling him. At the forum he expressed his thoughts on the technology in schools being “archaic”, adding many computers are hand-me-downs. He also advocated for less time spent in private meetings.

Victoria Morgan doesn’t have a Website, but a Facebook page, which says very little about what she stands for. She has been vocal on social media and regular media of late about her views on parent fundraising using Casino funds. While she feels it it wrong to have 3 different Government departments fund the classroom (Alberta Ed, Alberta Gaming and Alberta CIP Grants) and making parents work these Casinos to provide basics (not extras), as a Trustee she would not ask her colleagues to support the CBE rejecting Casino funds, but ask the Provincial Government to change the way they fund schools. During the Forum, she spoke about less time in private meetings, and suggested using the Corporate Approach to cut the “nice to haves” like travel, hospitality and off site meetings. When speaking about engaging the public, she says we need to speak to students as they are becoming more vocal on issues. She stated twice she’s been disillusioned in the board decision-making, having been denied the opportunity to have her say.

One could describe Sean McAsey as the wild card in this race. Two issues were brought forward by him and are also strongly expressed on his newly live website. One being Corporate partnerships. From his websiteThere are many millions of dollars that can be infused into the CBE by partnering with the private sector.” This line alone could make you love him, or run the other way. A strong bold issue to be sure. He added at the forum that he wouldn’t question Administration expenses and only focus on raising revenue. The other issue Sean feels strongly about is living in the Ward. Again from his website “Unfortunately, two of the individuals running for trustee in this election are not residents of wards 11 or 13.  Outsourcing representation for our wards is NOT an option.” I am sure the other 2 residents that are running appreciate his support, if you feel strongly about that issue. Many Trustees have been elected that do not live in their Wards. In some cases, their children go to school in the Ward. There are elected Trustees that do not have any children going to school at all. This issue, while often mentioned by candidates, doesn’t seem to be a factor at the ballot box.

Karen Lloyd is the past President of CAPSC (Calgary Association of Parent and School Councils) and she feels strongly that in that role she has already been doing the job of Trustee. It’s on her website, she said so at the forums and on social media. Parental Engagement needs to be taken to the people she said at the Forum. Quoted in Metro from the Forum “They don’t have time for the 1964 model of going to a regular meeting and hauling themselves to this and to that place,” Lloyd said. “We need to take the school and the meetings to them.” She shares the fact that CAPSC lost funding and she was able to manage a tight budget and also feels her campaign is a good example of being fiscally responsible with smaller campaign signs. I can honestly say I have only seen 2 candidates’ (Lloyd and Hrdlicka) signs thus far (but don’t live in the area). I’d be willing to bet at least two of the other candidates will spend less than Lloyd. Wilf spent $1122.81 in 2013. She stated she is the only one of the five candidates that regularly attends board meetings and would like the public board to make a strong case for students staying rather than worrying about funding for other boards. Karen has many Blogs on her website for more in depth views.

Julie Hrdlicka was first out of the gate announcing her candidacy early and launching her campaign well ahead of nomination day. Julie stated at the Forum her entire professional career has been spent as an advocate making her ready for the job. During the forum she spoke against Private and Charter schools saying all kids should have equal opportunity. Not much a trustee can do about that, but advocate to the province. She put a finer point on the disconnect between the board and its citizens, referencing the lack of consultation with the Christine Meikle school re location adding the CBE is a huge bureaucracy and that parents need help to navigate it. From her website “I believe one of the roles of trustees is to help parents understand the system,” also adding many parents do not know the role of Trustee and what they do. From Julie’s website ” I will find more opportunities to consult with parents about issues important to their children. I have been bringing communities, organizations, and individuals together to address complex public issues for many years.” Also from her site, Julie strongly states “I will commit to working with the CBE, the City of Calgary, parents, community groups, schools, and local childcare providers to come up with ideas and initiatives to open up affordable spaces.” Although this is not typically something Trustees have been involved with, I can imagine families appreciating work toward this solution.

The Metro News article about the forum cites most of the candidates, who agree that “We continue to be underfunded, we continue not to have the support staff that we need, the support for kids with special needs, the huge workloads for teachers.” To be clear, every single trustee in recent memory have “advocated” to the province for more funding. Whoever wins this race will add their voice to the choir. Trustees can only ask or advocate to the province for more funding. Voters should focus on issues that Trustees have power to change. There are many good solid Trustee issues stated here by all the candidates. Still undecided? Check out CAPSC video of the forum along with some live tweets from Jeremy Nolais of Metro News and a couple links to news coverage: http://capsc.ca/2015/04/trustee-by-election-forum-for-wards-11-13-candidates/. Get informed Ward 11 and 13 and get out there and vote on April 13th.

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