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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Property tax increase ‘heartless’ in these hard times

Pandemic has cost people their jobs, notes letter writer

Provincial funding will help Regional District of Nanaimo create poverty reduction strategy

RDN partnering with member municipalities and Islands Trust on regional study

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

Beefs & Bouquets, June 3

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

Parcel stolen from front porch, Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect

Unidentified woman allegedly stole package containing $400 smart watch

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo’s Rocky Point

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Most Read