Trustee Scott Kimler is seeking a second term on the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school board.
Kimler is one of the first incumbents to announce a bid for the board in the upcoming election this October.
Kimler, who lives in Ladysmith, was one of several parents involved in Save Cedar Schools that ran in the 2014 election. He won a seat with the second-highest number of votes and is currently chairman of the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools business committee.
His background includes about two decades in the U.S. oil industry and consulting work. He’s now semi-retired.
He said he has the time to devote, feels like a trustee is a civil servant position and he’s big on giving back to his community, a reason he’s been a volunteer firefighter for more than 10 years.
“My life situation, it would be good for me to have another kick at the can,” he said. “It was a big learning curve for the first term, especially the first year, right, because I don’t come from the education background.”
He also says he fits what he believes is important to have in trustees, such as engagement, critical thinking skills and business sense, and feels it’d be good for him to be on the board again, though he said he just wants quality people on the board.
“By quality I think life experience, the time to dedicate to it, your heart is in the right place, you are not politically motivated, you want to do what’s best for the kids and that’s really what it boils down to,” he said. “It’s all about making the best decision for the district with keeping the kids in mind.
“And it’s not necessarily going to please one community group over here or one school group over there, but you got to keep in mind the entire district not just one community or one group.”
During his first term, Kimler said he was proud of the expansion project for École Hammond Bay, work with the City of Nanaimo that included selling Rotary Bowl and Serauxmen Stadium and building an artificial turf field at NDSS, as well as a motion he made that allows trustees to contribute toward a Nanaimo Schools Foundation fund to enhance learning for students.
The school board has made school closure decisions and he said it could possibly affect his re-election, though he points out he voted not to close Rutherford Elementary.
He’d gone on a tour with a real estate agent to look at the neighbourhood, because he didn’t know the north end well, and was astounded by the amount of in-growth development in the north end and saw the potential for population growth coming and didn’t think it was the right decision to close the school, he said.
But Kimler said as a trustee, there’s a code of conduct that once the board has made a decision, it’s important others go along with it, so he supported the decision once it was made. He also sees some positives, such as the board being able to develop a good relationship with the Ministry of Education, which kicked in $1.3 million to the Frank J. Ney expansion.
If elected, Kimler said it’s important to carry on work with the Town of Ladysmith for a reconfiguration of schools, getting a new NDSS and addressing safety concerns for the schools that have seismic risks.
He’d also like to advocate through the B.C. School Trustees Association to the provincial government for a capital budget to be created annually for all school districts, so those bodies can decide how best to renew, renovate or build new schools.
“Right now it’s a very capricious, serendipitous methodology of getting a school rebuilt,” he said.
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