Thursday, November 17, 2011

Victoria Trustee candidates - My voting card

School Trustees matter. Whether you have children or not, Trustees make decisions that impact your local community - from management of school lands, to direct educational programs for school age children, to integrated community education services for all ages. And the children who grow up in our communities are the future electorate and neighbours - what and how we teach today impacts our communities of today and tomorrow.

So how to decide? Here is my Report Card on the Trustee candidates for Greater Victoria. I am voting for five candidates: Catherine Alpha, David Bratzer, Edith Loring-Kuhanga, Diane McNally and Deborah Nohr.

Catherine Alpha:Consistently voted against the Superintendent's report on class organization when over 300 classes are set above the legislated limits. Supported, campaigned and voted for a needs budget.

David Bratzer: Did an excellent expose on the failed "Stantec Report" commissioned by the Board to simply "cut and paste" rationales for determining school needs based on "efficiency" rather than student learning. Opposed K/1 split classes. Regularly attends Board meetings and does the work to understand Board decision making.

Edith Loring-Kuhanga: Comes from the Saanich Board where she supported and voted for a needs budget. Consistent advocate for full funding and smaller class sizes and support for all students.

Diane McNally: Tireless advocate for the needs and rights of children. Former teacher and advocate for Reading Recovery and individualized one-on-one instruction to meet student learning needs.

Deborah Nohr: Another tireless advocate who has worked for years to improve learning conditions in schools, particularly around class size and class composition. Has worked with school based Parent Advisory Councils and will bring true transparency to Board decision making processes. Former co-chair and founding member of the Victoria Public Education Coalition, and active member of United for Education.

I will be "plumping" my vote - only voting for the candidates I want. Although a voter can choose up to nine, it is strategic to vote for only those candidates you really want to see win.

I am not voting for eight of the nine incumbent Trustees and I strongly believe it is time for change.

In the past decade the Victoria Board has closed seven schools, sold (and long term leased) school properties, cut countless positions at the Board resulting in program cuts, reduced funding for schools (school budgets) and libraries, voted to increase their own salaries in the face of budget cuts and presided over increasing class sizes and composition. They have done little to advocate for Victoria students and have instead simply implemented cuts passed down from the Ministry. Only one incumbent, Catherine Alpha, is getting my vote because of her determined fight to improve classroom conditions by voting against the class organization report.


  1. Excellent! Now, can you please tell me who to vote for on city council? I can't seem to find the time to do my own homework! ;-)

  2. Thanks for the vote of confidence! I follow school Board happenings very carefully...but not City politics as much. I can speak to Ben Isitt, whom I know personally and believe will work for equity and sustainability and social justice. For recommendations, I would suggest the Victoria Labour Council, who make endorsements for all municipalities and school boards. Their information is available at:

  3. That was very helpful...I'm all set now.