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Former Nanaimo school trustee wants a say in district’s direction

Bill Bard seeks a return to school board
Bill Bard, a Nanaimo Ladysmith school trustee from 2011-14, seeks to return to the board table in 2018. (GREG SAKAKI/News Bulletin)

A former Nanaimo Ladysmith school trustee is seeking to again earn a seat at the board table in the 2018 local government election.

Bill Bard was a trustee between 2011-2014 and seeks to be so again for 2018-2022. Bard said he’s running again because he’s always had a passion for education and is concerned about student outcomes, safe schools, facilities and bullying.

Bard said he will build on his experiences from his last term in office.

“It’s such a sharp learning curve when you’re a new trustee,” said Bard. “Certainly one of the things that I’ll bring forward is the ability to work with a good team and what we learned about governance played a big role in that. We had a very diverse group of people and were able to work together nicely to get things done.”

Bard wants to talk about prudent fiscal management and ensuring long-term stability for student outcomes, which is why he’s running.

“The issues facing the district are financial stability and spending money in a way that will ensure the best student outcomes in education,” said Bard. “The district is in the business of education and so that’s what the focus should be on.”

In terms of facilities, Bard said he thinks the district was going in the right direction under the board he was a part of, but there is work that needs to be done. Bard pointed to Woodlands Secondary School, closed in 2016, which is being re-opened to house the Vocational Adult Secondary Training program. The school is more than 60 years old and he worries about student safety and what would happen if a major earthquake were to hit.

Bard said he can’t do anything personally to remedy the situation, if elected, but must work together with the board.

“You really got to look at the facilities plan in place now and take a look at that and really, it’s got to be assessed and until I’ve had a look at it, and discussed it with my colleagues, I can’t say what would be done,” said Bard. “Nobody likes school closures, but I think that we need to make the best possible use of our buildings, our facilities, as possible.”

Bard said he’s been critical of every school board since the ’90s and said he can work with anybody, but will stand up for what he believes in.

“I’m not going to just kowtow to anybody and I’m not going to just follow somebody’s lead,” said Bard. “I’ll do what I’ve always done. I’ll listen and look at the material and discuss it and when it comes time to raise my hand, I will.”

To read interviews with other local government election candidates, click here.

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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