SB Q1: 20 Questions for Langley School Board candidates

 

Candy Ashdown (City) – No. Not necessarily. Enrolment is only one of many factors to consider before a school should be looked at for closure. I believe children should have a right to attend their neighborhood schools and if at all possible neighborhood schools should be sustained.

Shelley Coburn (City) – I am reluctant to say yes. However, if we have looked at and exhausted all other options we should be willing to look at this. Only as a last resort. We also must do so bearing in mind that just has our population has shifted one way it will eventually shift in another direction. Whatever decisions we make today have to made with the future in mind. 

Robert McFarlane (City)– Whether or not a low-enrolment school should be closed depends on a number of factors, including: whether potential financial savings can be achieved without a school closure.  (For example, reducing administrative costs by having one principal in charge of more than one small school.); what additional costs would be incurred due to the school closure (such as transportation); whether any educational benefits can be achieved without school closure. (For example, having a music/band teacher assigned to more than one small school.); how vulnerable the students in that school are, including how likely it is that some would not regularly attend a more distant school; the distance to the alternate school students would be assigned to. I expect that I will be supporting some school closure(s) in the coming years.  Whether or not I would support a particular closure will depend on the specifics of that situation.

Pamala-Rose Combs (Township) – Yes, at some point there aren’t enough students in a school to provide a well rounded experience – everything has to be taken into consideration: teachers, band, supplies, equipment, and technology etc.

 Megan Dykeman (Township) – No. Closing a school should be the last option and enrolment should not be the only factor. Closing a school based on single factor is irresponsible.

Kristine Ketter (Township) – No. I feel that we need to make every effort to look at alternatives for the use of space within low-enrolment schools. It is extremely important that the board consider what is being saved versus the negatives effects of a school closure. Closing a school causes that neighbourhood to loose the resources that are often an integral part of the community. Should a school be closed things like library books and playgrounds that the PAC has raised will be removed from the community that it was meant for.

Alison McVeigh (Township) – Don’t Know. Just because a school has low enrolment, it does not mean it should be closed.  The Langley School District has a serious challenge with regard to a lack of school space on the Willoughby slope and under-enrollment in other parts of the District.  During this term, the Board developed a Long-term Facilities Plan in consultation with the community.  The Plan makes several recommendations regarding moving programs, consolidating programs, building new schools, and suggests that these changes should be done in consultation with the community. The Board is embarking on a consultation process with the Langley Secondary family of schools and R E Mountain family of schools on the best way to deal with the challenges on the WIlloughby slope. Until such time as the consultation process is complete I don’t know if schools should be closed.

Suzanne Perreault (Township) – This is a case by case situation to decide whether low-enrollment schools should be closed. Each case would benefit the thoughtful consolation of the school and community that is being impacted taking into consideration the global needs of the students of the District. Ultimately the district is called to be good stewards of the budgets they manage and must do what is in the best interest of the whole.

Rod Ross (Township) – Yes. Do you believe that students have greater educational opportunities in a larger school? Do you believe there are greater social opportunities in larger schools? Do you believe that the district has increased costs in admin, secretarial support, custodians, heating cost because of new elementary and middle schools and yet we have not received any extra funds for these increased costs? All the above are true. Trustees have a job to do and that means making a decision based on what you are given. This is leadership. We are the ones that must present balanced budgets and we cannot continue to do it without a structural change in the system. Closing low enrolment schools is good for the district as a whole financially while at the same time improving educational and social benefits to students. I do not mean to minimize the stress that this change makes for affected families…but is the reality. The budget problem will not go away. Please support candidates that will honestly consider closing small schools. We must live within the money we are given.

Rosemary Wallace (Township) – No. I feel that low enrolment schools we could be used for other programming that serves the neighbouring community. I feel that if students can attend their neighbourhood school it takes the pressure off of families.

 

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