Name: Mark Robinson
Occupation/background: Single working dad and sales language specialist
Why are you running for school trustee?
As a parent who has kept a keen eye on the school board for years, I find that our district has several favourable circumstances to protect public education without needing to rely on program cuts. Through experience and hard work I have identified several of these unique opportunities and together with the new board I will work diligently to ensure that these opportunities are not lost before it is too late.
What three priorities are important for you and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?
Protecting students, staff, parents and visitors by implementing a solid plan that encompasses readiness for natural disasters, disease epidemics, traffic safety, and student security concerns utilizing ideas and contributions developed from our community.
Protecting public interest by balancing funding across the entire district and not any one particular school.
Protecting public education by ensuring that cuts to libraries, sports, and music programs are a thing of history by considering different funding formulas and that school trustees directly share the pain from cuts and closures that they themselves voted for.
How do you plan to work toward a balanced school budget?
From the top, not the bottom: reduce the board from nine to seven, reduce trustees’ pay by the rate of declining enrollment, halt luxury hotel stays and limit out-of-town conferences, trustees who do not show up to meetings do not get paid.
Merging some district administration positions (one person at $208,000 a year is less costly than three at $115,000 a year)
Think outside the box: identify creative opportunities to add education funding through every means at our disposal, for example enhancing our desire for the lucrative international student market (being able to speak Mandarin, Japanese and Korean qualifies me to enhance our efforts at the committee level on this front).
What do you think it takes to be an education leader in Nanaimo-Ladysmith? Describe your leadership or co-working style:
Leadership these days starts with our ears and not with our mouths. As a parent who has children in our district, fellow district parents can feel comfortable approaching me with their concerns or suggestions. One not only needs to listen and understand, but more importantly share a common background for a deeper understanding. As for the traditional definition of leadership, it takes a combination of practical skills and relevant experience. There are those among us who are seeking out new members to send to the board who not only have a unique vision to offer, but also carry relevant experience at the same time. With direct experience involving parents of international students, added with past experience vice-chairing our school district’s race relations committee added with many other committees and boards in our community, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and work towards a new vision.