Nanaimo Duncan and District Labour Council hosted an all-candidates meet-and-greet in Cedar on Wednesday night. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

SD68 candidates make last pitch prior to election

Nanaimo Duncan and District Labour Council hosted a meet-and-greet for prospective school trustees

With the municipal election days away, Nanaimo Duncan and District Labour Council hosted a meet-and-greet for prospective Nanaimo Ladysmith school district trustees.

Attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions in an informal setting and candidates were afforded the chance to make a last pitch before voting on Oct. 20.

Capacity and overcrowding were among issues that face the school district, according to a number of candidates.

“We need to reconsider catchment policy to some extent,” said candidate Hunter Ehrismann. “We need to let students at all of our schools graduate and finish their education, but we also need to, going forward, consider catchment policy. I wouldn’t support touching in-catchment policy, but definitely out-of-catchment needs to be examined.”

Richard Finnegan said facilities are an important issue.

“We only have 10 per cent of our budget to spend on buildings and we want to spend $100 million on a new high school,” said Finnegan. “We’ve got five schools that are [most vulnerable] seismic status and we need to make sure we go to the government with one plan from the city, RDN and from the school board saying, ‘We need to upgrade our schools.’”

Matt Szeler said space available is a pressing issue.

“There’s schools that are closing and we live in an area that is rapidly growing and there’s not enough space,” said Szeler. “I’ve heard people complain about catchment … and that had a lot to do with spacing. People want to bring their kids to this part of the city and they haven’t room with the people being there. So I think catchment is one of the things we need to look at.”

Corinne Furtmann said facilities, seismic safety and clean drinking water are issues for her, as well as transportation.

“I’m looking at getting seatbelts on buses; that’s an interest for me,” said Furtmann.

Jen Skogland said facilities are a priority, but health and well-being of students comes first.

“They’re not able to learn if they don’t have that basis,” said Skogland. “The pillars of that health and well-being are activity, equity and nutrition.”

Skogland said the district has to build on current school district meal programs.

“I know there’s emergency food programs available for our students, but I don’t believe we’re considering the nutrition factor as much as it should be considered,” Skogland said. “I think there’s a holistic approach to food and we’re missing that mark. I think that gardening needs to be in there, making food needs to be in there, as well as eating food, that’s all part of the food literacy mandate.”

Szeler, who stated opposition to SOGI 123 (sexual orientation and gender identity) curriculum at an earlier all-candidates’ meeting in a question where candidates were only able to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ elaborated on his position.

“I don’t disagree with all of it, but there are certain things that I do. I agree with the bullying policy, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m a short guy and when I was a kid, I got bullied,” said Szeler.

He said part of his platform includes ensuring age appropriateness of material being presented to students and creating school policies that protect parental rights.

“That’s one thing that I’m really for because it seems to me they want to disengage the parents,” said Szeler. “I want to go the other way. I think they should engage the parents in the curriculum SOGI should be working with. I’m not going to make a difference between SOGI, SOGI 123, that’s a complex situation, but I think the parents need to be engaged in the material. A person shouldn’t have their kids coming home and the parents are surprised at what’s going on.”

RELATED: School budget debated at all-candidates’ meeting for Nanaimo trustee hopefuls



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nanaimo baseball stadium lighting project costs increasing by $350,000

Finance committee recommends LED lights at Serauxmen Stadium

Tribal Journeys go through Snaw-Naw-As, Snuneymuxw, Stz’uminus territory

Paddlers now in Ladysmith en route to final stop in Lummi, Wash.

Nanaimo-Opoly will let board game players deal Harbour City properties

Victoria’s Outset Media and Walmart Canada partner on local edition of popular game

Nanaimo RCMP arrest individual in connection with stolen e-bike

Arrest made following traffic stop on July 12

Man who pleaded guilty to beating over drug debt sees nine-year jail sentence

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

World’s fastest bathtub racer to be determined this weekend in Nanaimo

Great International World Championship Bathtub Race caps full weekend of downtown events

Beefs & Bouquets, July 18

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Celebrity adds star power to Green Party town hall in Nanaimo

Pamela Anderson attended with representatives from U.S.-based environmental group

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Most Read