A Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools trustee wants to get an ‘A’ of sorts in the Regional District of Nanaimo.
Jessica Stanley isn’t seeking to be re-elected on the School District 68 board, rather she is running to be director of RDN Electoral Area A (South Wellington, Cedar and Cassidy).
Education is funded based on student numbers and Stanley said she is ready for the smaller budget for an electoral area director. The school district’s enrolment for 2022-23 is projected to be more than 15,000 pupils while the population of Area A was about 7,500 in 2021.
Stanley told the News Bulletin that RDN services are broader in nature, but there is overlap. Both the RDN and school district are legally required to present balanced budgets, she said.
“Ninety per cent of [SD68’s] budget was determined by staffing, and although we have a bigger budget, we have, in some ways, less wiggle room … the director is responsible for Area A, but they also have to work within a regional board…” Stanley said. “Yes, it’s a smaller budget and that is a challenge, but from my perspective, we really need to be in touch with the community and know what their priorities are.”
Climate change is one of the “significant realities” being felt in the RDN and elsewhere, and “we absolutely have to address resilience,” she said.
The school district passed a truth and reconciliation policy and opened Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School, co-governed with Snuneymuxw First Nation, during Stanley’s tenure as school trustee and with Snuneymuxw land in Area A, she hopes to carry over her work with Indigenous people, if elected.
“Once you’ve taken steps forward on reconciliation, it needs to be applied elsewhere,” she said. “So I want to take those relationships that I’ve developed, and I want to continue doing that work. I think I’ve got some good relationships with Snuneymuxw and I already intend to reach out and do what I can to deepen those relationships throughout the community.”
Stanley said she is well-equipped to handle affairs in a rural area, given her background and skill set.
“In addition to being a trustee and a community advocate, I’m also a farmer and I used to be a psychologist … as a farmer, I work with the land and as a psychologist, well, you have to know how to listen and how to help meet people’s needs,” she said.
Anyone running for mayor or councillor in the City of Nanaimo or the District of Lantzville, regional director in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Area A, B, C or E, or school trustee in School District 68 is asked to contact the Nanaimo News Bulletin to set up an interview or invite us to a campaign launch event. Phone Greg Sakaki at 250-734-4621 or e-mail email@example.com.