The Castlegar Chamber of Commerce hosted a School Board Trustee forum Tuesday evening. The three candidates running for the two Castlegar seats as well as the two candidates running for the Area I, RDCK seat were in attendance.
The crowd of over 50 remained respectful and asked questions mostly related to candidates experience, funding issues, transparency and their vision for the future.
During their introductory speeches each candidate chose to emphasize their strengths.
The only incumbent, Mickey Kinakin, spoke of his long time experience on the school board and with government and his philosophy of inclusiveness, “It takes a village to raise a child and I believe that village has to be welcomed in to the school system.”
Teri Ferworn emphasized her belief that every child matters and her high hopes for the BC Education Plan she explained, “It supports personalized learning for each child… and invites parents to take an active role.”
She spoke of her work as an early childhood educator, foster parent, education assistant and volunteer work.
Rosann Brunton spoke of her government work experience, accounting training and volunteer board work. She stated, “Investing in our kids is investing in our future… I envision a school district that collaborates with the community.”
She spoke of her desire to work with other districts and judicial leaders to lobby the government for more funding.
Peter Moll emphasized his 34 year work experience in the school district as a teacher, administrator and in the school district office.” I believe every student must have a quality education experience in the district.” His intent is to be visible, available and an advocate and to work on the relationship with the employees.
Catherine Zaitsoff described herself as a passionate advocate of public education. She listed her multiple roles of volunteer work with children. ”I bring critical thinking, outspokenness and open-mindedness. I believe in accountability, respect and an open culture.”
The $1 purchase proposal currently on the table before the School Board from the Blueberry Creek Community School was brought up several times.
Rosann Brunton, Teri Ferworn, Mickey Kinakin and Catherine Zaitsoff all went on record that they would vote in favor of the proposal. Peter Moll stated he felt he was not sufficiently informed to be able to say how he would vote. Zaitsoff stated, “It is the essence of students first, children first, rather than dollars.”
Kinakin, Zaitsoff and Moll all spoke to the need to rebuild the relationships among teachers and staff.
Brunson, Ferworn, and Zaitsoff and Kinakin addressed the issue of transparency. Brunson and Zaitsoff would both like to see more use of social media and the district website to get more information out. In a response to a question to a question originally given to Ferworn on transparency in voting, Kinakin pointed out that all votes are already on record and available. He also pointed out that school board meetings are open to the public, but rarely attended.