SB Q2: 20 Questions for Langley School Board candidates

 

Candy Ashdown (City) – Don’t know. In the interim, I believe this may possibly be an alternative to relieve some of the overcrowding we face in Willoughby schools. However, I believe strongly in neighborhood schools and that students should have access to a school in the area where they live.

Shelley Coburn (City) – Again, if they have to be. Again, this is a last resort. I am a strong believer in neighbourhood schools and children should be able to attend a school in their community, one that is reflective of them and the specific needs of the community they live it. 

Robert McFarlane (City)– For the vast majority of students, the best choice is for them to attend their local school. This helps maximize the student connection to the school, their engagement in their education, and (importantly) provides the most opportunity to participate in extra curricular activities. If additional school construction on the Willoughby Slope is not approved, however, the district will run out of space on the slope to house schools.  There are a number of schools in that area that simply cannot accommodate more portables.  Part of the purpose of the current community consultation process is to determine the best course of action.  In the face of insufficient space in local schools one option to be considered is bussing students to schools with space, however that is not the only alternative.  For example, another alternative that could be considered is a ‘shift’ structure, with some students starting early and finishing at noon while others start at noon and finish late in the day.  Neither of those options are preferred, but if more school space is not approved by the Province, we will run out of ‘seats’ on the Willoughby Slope and difficult decisions will need to be made. I strongly urge all potentially impacted students and families to participate the community consultation process this fall.

Pamala-Rose Combs (Township) – Yes, this is an option. I rode the bus for 4 hours a day when I was a kid; this was not detrimental to my well-being.  I still had time for homework and play.  Children should go the school that will give them the best education.

 Megan Dykeman (Township) – No. I do not believe that children should be required to spend an undue amount of time or travel long distances to school on buses, but I do believe there are many options available in the district to make more effective use of the space that we have.

Trudy Handel (Township) – Yes. There is a crisis right now on the north slope of Langley Township. Rampant development of townhouses and condos has resulted in a large influx of families with children. There are not enough schools to educate these children in their home areas. If we received government funding tomorrow for new schools, it would be three to four years before those schools would be available. What do we do in the meantime? You can only put so many portables on a school property, and they are not a good substitute for a permanent schoolroom. We have under-utilized schools that could take some of this over enrollment, by bussing students to those schools. Is this a good solution? No – but it seems like it’s the only viable solution at this point. There is no end in sight to the rapid rate of growth on the north slope. If the Township stopped issuing building permits today, how long would it take before the building would slow, allowing school construction to catch up? How long will it be before the provincial government will put more money into school construction? The Langley School Board is in a very difficult position.

Alison McVeigh (Township) – Don’t Know. The Board must look at all options available to deal with the issue of overcrowding.  This question is similar to the one above. The Board is undertaking 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. So again, until such time as the consultation process is complete I don’t know if students should be bused from under-served areas to low-enrollment schools.

Suzanne Perreault (Township) – I don’t feel student’s benefit from spending time riding busses. If there is not a community school available to the student to attend and that is the option they are faced with, I believe we need to carefully examine the thought process of having an adult monitor on the bus, other than the bus driver. We need to begin to be proactive preventing incidents of children who are found in situations of harassment and bullying that go unidentified due to the lack of supervision on busses. This can become a safety issue on busses and has been a seeding ground for violations to transpire against vulnerable individuals. 

Rod Ross (Township) – Yes If we have to…we have to. Either we get a new school of some form in the Willoughby area or we will have to resort to busing students to under-served schools. Not pleasant …but a reality that we cannot ignore. Do not be angry with me for saying this… I am being pragmatic and honest with you. How can a candidate say “No” to this question. If we have no room for students, what are they going to suggest we do? The healthiest response is to recognize the situation as it is…however unpleasant it is and stop pretending the situation is anything other than what it is. The Ministry and Finance Departments in Victoria have not as of yet given us a secondary school on the Willoughby area. This may change but it is what it is. For us to suggest otherwise to you at this time would not be with integrity. No new secondary school and we will be doing some form of busing. That being said, I wrote a research document entitled, Is There Another Way to the Board in which I outline a roadmap to look at researching new ways to design, build and fund schools. This document gives me hope that Langley can lead the province in innovation. We must be sure we have turned over every stone to see if there exists “another way.”

 

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