School board election season starts to simmer

Public education, done right, is the most important thing society can do to ensure kids have an opportunity to succeed, says the longest serving trustee on the Greater Victoria school board.

Public education, done right, is the most important thing society can do to ensure kids have an opportunity to succeed, says the longest serving trustee on the Greater Victoria school board.

Bev Horsman’s reasons for running for school board this Nov. 19, are the same ones that motivated her to first run for a position as trustee in 1986. At the time she was president of the Parents’ Group – known today as Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.

“I know that, over 25 years, you have to fight really hard to keep some of the most important programs. I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me and I intend to be there for the kids,” said Horsman, during a lunch break from her day job teaching English as a second language at Camosun College. “I loved it at the time (of her first election) and I still love being on the board.”

A proud time in her career on the board came in the mid-1990s when Horsman was instrumental in setting up the school lunch program. But times have changed substantially since the days when the board held the power to create new programs according to need, she said.

“Now, after years of restricted budgets and deficits, we find ourselves desperately trying to save all the programs we know the kids need, but, somehow, we are never funded properly.”

The role of the trustee these days, she said, is centred around strongly advocating to government.

“In deficit years, there are always heartbreaking choices to make, but I’ve always felt that I wanted to be at the table when their survival was threatened, so that we could try and keep the essence of what we were trying to do … It’s a part of me now.”

Horsman is impressed with newly declared candidate, David Bratzer, a Victoria police officer and founder of Scientific Victoria. Leading up to this November’s civic elections, Bratzer has been attending board meetings to stay abreast of the issues.

“He’s a guy who’s doing his homework, which is nice to see among candidates,” Horsman said.

Bratzer launched his “schools not prisons” campaign Sept. 15 in recognition of education playing a major factor in determining whether a young person ends up in jail, he explained.

Bratzer has been calling attention to the district’s strategic planning, an issue he’d like to see kept in the forefront of the board’s agenda. Another issue he’d like to bring to the table: updating the district’s policy on substance abuse.

The 34-year-old has been an advocate for criminal justice reform and has publicly spoken out against what he calls a failed war on drugs.

“I’ve always been very careful to be respectful of my police department and very clear that my opinions don’t reflect those of my police department,” Bratzer said.

“At a certain point, you almost feel like you’re repressing who you are if you can’t talk about your work as a police officer in the community where you live, especially when you feel that the things that you have to say, could help the community in the long run.”

Current school board chair Tom Ferris confirmed he intends to seek re-election for another three-year term. Board vice-chair David Pitre, as well as trustees Jim Holland, Elaine Leonard, Michael McEvoy, Peg Orcherton, Catherine Alpha and John Young also told the News they would seek re-election.

The position of trustee pays $17,424 per year in remuneration, with stipends for the chair and vice-chair coming in at $3,000 and $1,500, respectively.

Public notice for school board trustee nominations has been officially posted on the school district webpage as well as at the district office, 556 Boleskine Rd. Candidate names, requiring two qualified nominators, will not be accepted until the nomination period begins at 9 a.m. Oct. 4.

All nominations must be submitted to the district offices between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the period ending Oct. 14, or via arrangements made to Thomas Moore, the chief election officer at 250-472-0059.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

2008 numbers

Elected

Peg Orcherton: 16,628 votes

Bev Horsman: 15,360

Elaine Leonard: 14,493

John Young: 13,048

Jim Holland: 12,303

Michael McEvoy: 12,147

Tom Ferris: 11,891

David Pitre: 11,145

Catherine Alpha: 10,828

Other nominees

Mark Walsh: 10,339

Michael Hayes: 9,997

Starla Anderson: 9,213

Tamara Malczewska: 9,142

Samuel Shuler: 4,507

Lance Groseth: 3,816

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

VicPd are asking for the public’s help in finding Camper, a lost pit bull who ran away after their owner’s van was reportedly attacked by a man with a hammer on June 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Edmonton man reportedly smashes van’s windows with hammer while woman and her dog inside

VicPD are asking for help to find Camper, the woman’s dog who ran away during the Friday incident

Red arrow shows the existing warehouse that is home to a variety of specialized equipment used by the Capital Region Emergency Services Telecommunications (CREST). The service provider is looking for a new home that will protect the equipment in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. (Google Maps)
CREST telecoms look to find a post-seismic facility in Greater Victoria

The move will better protect equipment vital to its 50 emergency service clients across the CRD

A client and a staff member embark on an art project at Oak Bay United Church. (Christine van Reewyk/News Staff)
VIDEO: Oak Bay group of adults with developmental disabilities promotes community inclusivity

Victoria Community Connections moved to Oak Bay late last year

(Black Press Media file photo)
FRESH AND LOCAL: Greater Victoria farm markets ready to greet shoppers

A list of markets on the go this spring and summer, right into fall

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read