The issues facing the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB) are very similar to those facing City Council. Sometimes, School Board issues take a back seat to Council coverage.
I have extensive Board experience, currently serving as Secretary for the Calabrians Multicultural Society and as a Board of Director with the Downtown Association. In the past, I have served as a Board of Director with the Sault Ste. Marie Alzheimer Society and Bear Your Heart Children’s Charity. I am a Chiropractor, practicing for 16 years. In 2010, I successfully introduced Automated External Defibrillators for placement in our Catholic Schools for public safety. The motion was approved at the Board level and are now present in the schools. This is an example of proactive leadership. Well-researched ideas can become a reality.
Board Transparency has been a traditional election topic. Our incumbent Catholic Trustees failed to maintain Board Transparency by using SECRET ballots on controversial issues in public forum. You have a right to know how your elected officials stand on any given issue. This is not acceptable and if elected, I will call for recorded votes. For example, refer to the June 2014 meeting where secret ballots were cast when discussing the Gay Pride Parade.
Balancing a budget is another important issue. Eighty percent of the School Board’s budget, funded by the provincial government, is used for wages. While wages continue to increase as a result of inflation, school enrollment is NOT on the rise to offset this cost. How can the School Board fix that problem? One can stop the overspending of your tax dollars by scrutinizing the budget OR find creative ways to increase student enrollment. And this will in turn create job opportunities for young teachers. To achieve greater enrollment, the Board can work with local Catholic members (Priests & Sisters, parent & teacher volunteers) to develop and deliver seminars/workshops for parents, children and youth with topics advocating positive attitudes, behaviours and strong Catholic values, example “Growing Kids God’s Way.” This is just one proactive way the Board can reach out beyond the daily classroom to provide education and awareness from a Catholic perspective to ALL community members.
There is a need for development of Children & Youth Ministries at our local Catholic Churches. HSCDSB has the resources (with no associated costs) to help develop Sunday Schools and Youth Groups with the assistance of parent and teacher volunteers. While some may think this is not a direct role of the School Board, I state that this would be a win-win situation for both parties. While this will help the Catholic Churches increase attendance of younger families, there may also be a direct benefit to increasing school enrollment. This is a clear example of how the Board can help strengthen the triad of Home, Church and School…three partners working together to provide quality education in a religious and loving environment.
This year KidsHope Inc., after more than 25 years of a close working relationship with this community and the HSCDSB, is closing its doors and I will work to ensure that the message of its curriculum which focuses on anti-bullying and positive relationship building continues to resonate in our Board. I will support other organizations with similar messages.
Ultimately when faced with making Board decisions, Catholic Trustees should always be guided by the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board needs vocal and visionary leaders with a passion and energy for Catholic Education. I am that type of leader. Your support on October 27, 2014 is appreciated and I will work hard for you to continue thinking outside the box to help our children achieve success in our educational system.