Name: Steve Rae
Occupation/background: Canadian territory sales manager, Navico Marine Electronics
Why are you running for school trustee?
I believe it is time for a change in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District. As a community advocate fighting for proper representation of my community within our school district, I was disappointed with the way our district chooses to pit communities against each other in times when difficult decisions need to be made. I believe in a strong public education system and if we are going to have a successful one in SD68 then we need communities to work together. I want to be the community voice at the table.
What three priorities are important to you and how do you plan to tackle these issues, if elected?
Better stakeholder engagement: We need to build better relationships with our partners in education. If you have good relationships with your partners then you can work through anything. We need to improve our relationships with our stakeholder groups so we can start focusing on providing high quality education for our students.
Democratic reform: We need to ensure that our board is open and responsive to the needs of the communities it serves. This is why the board of education exists. We need to change meeting formats and structures to ensure that the communities we serve can be heard.
Fiscal responsibility: Starting with our budget for the 2015-16 school year, we need to start spending school district money like it is our own. We need to understand the full implications and costs of every major initiative started in our district. We need to start addressing the top heavy management structure in our district and start allocating resources with students in mind. We need to build, administer and maintain a yearly budget that allows for excellence in education.
How do you plan to work toward a balanced school district budget?
We need to start looking in places other than student services and programs for savings. We have a top-heavy management structure in our district and I believe that streamlining management is an important first step in helping us balance our budget. I believe my experience and expertise in planning for large corporate budgets will serve our district well. It is time we had business-minded professionals at the board table for this exact reason.
What do you think it takes to be an education leader in Nanaimo-Ladysmith? Describe your leadership or co-working style.
I believe that you need to first and foremost listen when you are an education leader in Nanaimo. There are a number of stakeholder groups in our district who all bring valuable experience and perspectives to the education of our children. As a trustee, I need to listen to all of these groups and bring them together in the education of our children. My job requires me to build and maintain relationships. As a relationship builder, my co-working style can help bridge the gap between all the stakeholder groups so we can start putting students first.