Friday October 21, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated 9:35 am October 22, 2022]
Editorial analysis by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
The SD62 school district that serves families with the delivery of public education in the west shore and Sooke sees five new trustees at the seven-seat board table for 2022-2026.
Voters in the SD62 Belmont Zone (Langford, Colwood, Highlands and Sooke) could elect four trustees. Voters elected new trustees Cendra Beaton, Russ Chipps and Trudy Spiller as well as incumbent Ravi Parmar.
Voters in the SD62 Milne’s Landing Zone (Sooke and Juan de Fuca) could elect three trustees. Voters elected new trustees Amanda Dowhy and Ebony Logins as well as incumbent Allison Watson.
Voting was held at three schools in Langford on October 15 (as well as Langford City Hall for advance voting on October 5 and 12), and over those three voting dates at Colwood City Hall, community and municipal hall in Highlands and in Metchosin, as well as a few locations in Sooke.
From among the 56,178 voters in the Belmont Zone (Langford, Colwood, Metchosin and Higlands) who were eligible to vote, there were 8,437 ballots (municipal and school trustee) submitted in Langford, 3,798 in Colwood, 1,964 in Metchosin, and 723 in Highlands.
While that’s an overall voter turnout of 26.5% (municipal and trustee) it doesn’t directly correlate to how many people actually voted for one, two, three or four Belmont trustee candidates of the seven listed on the ballot.
Belmont Zone profile:
Parmar pulled in the highest number of votes, having the backing of both the MLA John Horgan NDP community and the Stew Young (outgoing) Langford mayor contingent. He is still the youngest person on the board.
Beaton drew her campaign strength from the parent advisory committee (PAC) community, as well as Canadian Parents for French, and the military family community.
Russ Chipps and Trudy Spiller ran a strong thread of being leaders within the Indigenous community.
The full list of Belmont Zone candidates for the October 15 election was (in alphabetical order): Cendra Beaton, Mary P Brooke, Russ Chipps, Dominique Jacobs, Christine Lervold, Ravi Parmar (incumbent), Trudy Spiller.
Milne’s Landing Zone:
Watson pulled in the highest number of votes, having served one term already on the board.
Dowhy made a strong and consistent impression at committee meetings over recent years.
Logins served on Sooke council for two terms, and is deeply embedded in the community that supports Sooke Mayor Maja Tait.
The full list of Milne’s Landing candidates for the October 15 election was (in alphabetical order): Amanda Dowhy, Murielle Lagace, Candace Linde, Ebony Logins, Philip Ney, Veronica Pembertson, Allison Watson (incumbent).
Upcoming board fluctuations:
Parmar has been the top pick of John Horgan to be his replacement as the NDP candidate (and possibly MLA) for Langford-Juan de Fuca. As Horgan will remain as MLA only until the next provincial election, this already siphons away Parmar’s energy for school board matters. He also works full-time as a senior government staffer.
Watson said during the campaign that she wasn’t even sure she wanted to run, as the trustee role takes a toll on her young family.
Logins is well along in her first pregnancy and will probably spend time away from the board on maternity leave soon.
Trends in local education:
The new board will be dealing with the inclusion of child care within the education mandate — a new thing since only April 2022 when the Ministry of Education became the Ministry of Education and Child Care (a Horgan government thrust, aiming to lock down the reliability and quality of child care in BC). As SD62 Superintendent Scott Stinson put it recently, the scope of public education is now from cradle to post-secondary.
The SD62 board has worked hard to improve the graduation rate of self-identifying Indigenous students. With two Indigenous trustees now serving on the board, this process will likely see further achievement.
Bus transportation services will be a challenging issue for the new SD62 board, amidst continuing driver shortages and there being little to no room in the budget for expansion of school bus services despite a continually growing west shore student population. There is already a push to encourage students to walk, cycle and roll to school.
Facility growth is still the greatest challenge; the building of new schools cannot keep up with increasing population in the region. Classrooms are already over capacity, a situation being valiantly addressed by senior administration to find spots for all the new students coming into the district. Housing growth in the region is driving the increase in school seat requirements.
SD62 Election results (source: Civic Info BC):
Here is the list of candidates who ran for the seven (7) SD62 trustee seats in the October 15, 2022 election, showing in green the names of candidates who won seats.
Next board meetings:
The next SD62 public board meeting is on Tuesday October 25 at 7 pm. In the agenda, SD62 Superintendent Scott Stinson congratulates the incoming trustees.
The new board will be sworn in on November 1 at 7 pm.
Meetings are held at the SD62 administration office on Jacklin Road in Langford, and are also livestreamed.
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends offers news insights about the west shore and south Vancouver Island.
Editor and publisher Mary P Brooke has spearheaded this socioeconomic and community-insight news thread since 2008 in the west shore, starting with MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010) which morphed into the weekly newspaper Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), which expanded into the weekly colour print newspaper West Shore Voice News (2014-2020). Island Social Trends has been an online news portal at islandsocialtrends.ca since mid-2020.
Ms Brooke has been covering news of SD62 at the board and committee level since 2014. Her insights are of value to parents and the community who rely on quality public education for their children, as well as to community leaders who want the inside scoop on SD62 decision-making.
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