After I posted the take on the meeting by David Bratzer last Wednesday, I got the following email from one of the people that attended the meeting:
I was one of the few people (maybe 30?) at the all candidates meeting at Spectrum. I went in knowing very little about any of the candidates, incumbents included, and I came away with a feeling that regardless of how this particular election went, there were 15 candidates (one was absent) that really cared about our public education system. They may have different politics, but it was clear that all were good people who really cared. I was also impressed with just how much experience was on the board and how civil the whole evening was. No mud was flung, there was very little verbal sparring, and most of the candidates were very well spoken. It will be difficult for me to vote any of the returning trustees out, but I will have to find a way to include Edith Loring-Kuhanga and David Bratzer on the ballot. That said, the most impressive candidates in my mind were Bev Horsman, Jim Holland, and Michael MceVoy, who really seem to understand the tough road ahead for public education, not just from a funding standpoint, but also from a top level of what can and needs to be done to protect the existing programs. This was my 1st experience with John Young, but what a force of nature he is... amazing how much experience one person can bring to the table.
That said, in the question period, there were some non answers from several candidates. One of the questions went something like this... "In a time of budgetary pressure what would be your 2 priorities going forward... and asking for more money doesn't count". This to me was a chance for them to really highlight what was important to them, but instead 2 of the candidates defaulted to... asking/lobbying/begging/threatening for more money.
The other question that was avoided by a couple of candidates was the question of whether they would respect the spirit and obey the rule that candidates can not campaign on school grounds. One of the incumbents apologized for inadvertently campaigning by having a sign in the back of his truck when he was on school grounds (it seemed earnest enough and he said he would not do it again). One of the new candidates had the same question and rather then answer it, he deflected and said that incumbents should not be allowed to call themselves incumbents and that he should be allowed to campaign at school PAC's because of all the "soft campaigning" of the incumbents. I'm guessing that means his answer was no.
Just thought I would share my view, from a parent with no political bias.
Thanks for having a forum that I can actually read.
All the best,
I have three kids in SD#61 (last year it was two in SD#61 and one in SD#63). My oldest is in his last year this year but I also have a three year old that will enter the schools in September 2013. I will have a direct personal interest in the school system for many more years.
These two posts, and some other conversations I have had, have provided me with more information so that I can make a decision, but I still feel less prepared for this vote than almost any others I have been part of.