This photo shows seven of the reasons why I am a
candidate in the 2018 DNV School Trustee Election
Gwen and I — a couple since we were early teens — raised three children near the Seymour River and they continue living in North Vancouver. Our seven grandchildren attend public schools in the Lynn Valley and Indian River areas.
Fine schools mattered for our kids and now they matter even more for everyone. On this website, you will learn about my attitudes toward education.
My maternal ancestors built a homestead in upper Lonsdale about 115 years ago. I was born in Vancouver and schooled mostly in Powell River until university. My wife and I bought a North Vancouver residence in the mid seventies and share the same home today.
I am a semi-retired accountant who has worked in financial management of private enterprises. Long a follower of public affairs, I have been publisher of IN-SIGHTS, a site for news and commentary on issues affecting people in British Columbia.
I am probably best known for detailed financial analyses of energy operations, particularly at BC Hydro. You might have heard me interviewed on CKNW, CFAX and other broadcast outlets.
I argue against waste and I criticize our provincial utility for deceptive accounting and unrestrained spending. Corporate empire-building makes efficient delivery of products and services impossible. That’s a fact in all endeavours.
Value for Money, the Focus of Public Spending
We have had years of minimal increases in provincial support for public education and, because of other budget pressures, this will continue. To protect or improve services to students, schools must maximize the value of each dollar spent at the local level.
I would prioritize children, teachers and support staff. Great schools also need great leaders, so developing skilled and innovative administrators is a vital responsibility. Whether in schools or District offices, administration should deliver high value to taxpayers.
My Style as a Trustee
Civil debate is mandatory. Disagreements are inevitable, even healthy, but Trustees should set the standard for cooperation that works toward fair consensus. Public and private conversations should occur without acrimony or distorting the opinions of others. As we teach our children, mutual respect is vital.
Special Education Resources Need Priority
On this website, you’ll find A family’s 15-year struggle for justice. It involved a dispute with the Ministry of Education and the North Vancouver School District over inadequate services to a dyslexic child in primary grades.
The boy was an adult before the matter concluded. Authorities spent more in legal costs than they would have spent treating children like him fairly. That old case should not have happened. But, things are not necessarily better today.
I know the current experience of one family. Their child needed special attention and a different learning environment than available at his school. The family turned to a private program but that imposed a serious financial burden.
But, doing nothing was not a choice. The parents knew their son’s future was at stake. Children who do not fit easily into school may become adults who do not fit easily into civil society.
Without our investment in youngsters with special needs, the future will need more spending on crisis supports, addiction treatments and law enforcement.
It is the classic, “Pay now, or pay more later.”
We can do better.
Sports, Music and the Arts
When our children were active in athletics, I served as a minor sports administrator, including several years on Boards of the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association, North Vancouver Minor Hockey, North Shore Winter Club Hockey and Little League Baseball. Those recreational activities were a large part of our lives and I believe that schools should encourage physical activities of all sorts, for all children, whether for high-level competition or simple recreation.
Our family also took part in music programs, within schools and in community orchestras like the Vancouver Youth Symphony and the Summer Pops Youth Orchestra. As a School Trustee, I would be a strong advocate for music, the arts and other cultural initiatives.
Before-School and After-School Care
Many families need before-school and after-school childcare, I favour the use of school properties for these services, where there is space and confirmed interest of families. The school system and third-party child care providers can work in partnership to give cost-effective supervision of young children.
Safe and Active Travel
North Vancouver School Board cooperates with the City and District to improve safety and traffic congestion made worse by the many private cars taking children to schools.
I would support existing efforts and encourage expansion of Walking School Bus and Bicycle Train Programs.
I fully support the following Ministry of Education statement. BC teachers also endorse it.
Inclusion is the value system which holds that all students are entitled to equitable access to learning, achievement and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of their education. The practice of inclusion transcends the idea of physical location, and incorporates basic values that promote participation, friendship and interaction.
Indigenous and Multicultural Programs
School District No. 44 is already partnering with the Skwxwú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations in whose traditional territory we live. The aim is to improve academic success of students with indigenous heritage but also to educate our community about histories and cultures of people whose ancestors were on these lands for thousands of years.
The first of my European ancestors came to North America in early and middle years of the 19th century. Pictured here is my grandfather (the little guy on the right, between two sisters), his mother, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
It took time to bond with social norms of the new lands but they made positive contributions in a variety of ways. This story repeats today; immigrants make our communities richer.
Diversity is a fact and we should celebrate it. Whether residents are relatively new to North Vancouver or from families that moved here generations ago, we share common interests today and need to respect and appreciate each other.