My Priorities

I feel that it is important for citizens to know what I promised to do before I was first elected, what I have accomplished during my term, and what I plan to work on, should I be re-elected.

In 2013, I campaigned with a commitment to work on the following issues.

Preparing students to succeed

  • In 2011, the CBE 3-year high school completion rate was 72.5%. The 5-year rate was 78.2%.
  • Trustees were not provided with detailed data on academic results in order to identify areas of concern or improvement.
  • No new school announcements were made from 2008-2013 by the province, during a time of unprecedented growth in Calgary, which led to overcrowded schools, entrance lotteries and many accommodation challenges.

Building trust

  • A lack of consistency with regards to community consultation led many to believe that their perspectives were not heard or considered by those making decisions.
  • Access to individual trustees was limited.

Using financial resources wisely

  • The 2013-14 budget was 29 pages that really only broke down a billion dollars of spending into five line items.
  • There was a growing perception that schools were inadequately funded while head office costs were excessive.

These are the issues that I have constantly focused on as a trustee over the past four years. As I have only one vote on a board of seven trustees, I can’t take personal credit for all the progress that has been made on these issues. (View my voting record.)

Preparing students to succeed

  • The 2016 high school completion rate has risen to 76.4%, while the 5-year rate is 83.6%.
  • Trustees now receive detailed report card information on academic results broken out by subject, grade and report card stem.
  • Trustees required school board staff to create a system-wide literacy strategy, an indigenous strategy and develop a math strategy as part of the CBE’s Three Year Education Plan, due to concerns over results in these areas.
  • As a result of persistent advocacy by trustees and community members, over 30 new school and major modernization projects were announced, with most already complete.

Building trust

  • A new engagement framework was developed to ensure reasonable consultation with those affected by decisions.
  • Public feedback from all engagement sessions are posted on the CBE website so everyone can see the various perspectives and how they were incorporated into the final decisions.
  • “School Messenger” allows for more effective and efficient communication between home, schools and the CBE.
  • I have made every effort to accept every invitation to school council meetings, events and constituent meetings. I have also been accessible and active on social media in an effort to inform and engage with Calgarians on current issues in education and the CBE.

Using financial resources wisely

  • The 2017-18 budget was 189 pages with detailed breakdowns of every non-school based service unit and the number of employees in each so that trustees can understand how funds are being used and can ask informed questions before voting on the budget.
  • Despite provincial funding not keeping pace with inflation plus growth, trustees have ensured that the number of school-based staff has increased in order to keep up with enrolment growth, while non-school based staff has not. This school year, funding directly to schools will increase by 1.4% while central service units will be cut by a further 3.7%.
  • Trustee honorariums have remained frozen at $45,000 over the four years, which is 3.5% less than what trustees were paid in 2010-11.

I am running for re-election because I still feel that work needs to be done in these areas.

Preparing students to succeed

  • While strategies have been or will soon be put into place to improve results in areas of concern, such as math, trustees need to effectively monitor student outcomes in order to ensure that gains are being made.
  •  As Calgary continues to grow and facilities continue to age, trustees must continue to advocate to ensure that the province funds new schools and major modernizations where they are needed most.

Building trust

  • Further work needs to be done to be responsive to the concerns of Calgarians. Trustees need to lead policy discussions and set priorities for the system that reflect the needs of our communities.
  • In order to be accountable to the citizens of Calgary, trustees need to communicate through a variety of means and be more forthcoming around decisions that are being made and why they are being made.

Using financial resources wisely

  • While my motion for an independent review of how the CBE allocates resources did not pass, the Minister has stated that he will be conducting a review this Fall. I look forward to the results of that review for further ideas on how more efficiencies can be found within the CBE. Trustees will need to ensure that the recommendations from the review are appropriately implemented.
  • While the province plans to continue funding for student growth, inflationary increases will not be funded. This will continue to put pressure on CBE finances and trustees need to ensure that future budgets prioritize student learning.

I hope that I can count on your support in continuing this important work.